Sassy Pound Cake with Apricot Preserve Glaze

"Love is the poetry of the senses." - Honore de Balzac

Mushy moment alert! Lately, the love bug has been on the prowl, and yours truly might have been bitten, right on time for the holidays. All I can think of is the holiday season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years! Halloween brings the scary movie marathons while stuffing our faces with junk food and candy. Thanksgiving brings the first time I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner from scratch! Christmas brings uniting my culture with his culture, celebrating la Navidad in our own cute way. Everything just seems so exciting, and fresh, and new, specially now that things are official. I'm not even going to get into that complicated vortex of a story, but baking and cooking and home-y ways of expressing my affection are all on my mind lately. Cutest part of all is that A is also getting into cooking and baking. He doesn't want to be left behind in the kitchen, most of all since we've been watching "MasterChef Junior" on TV. Those little kids put our culinary skills to shame. I can hold my own in the kitchen, and a lot more so when compared to A, but when compared to those kids, I'm at like Level 4 and they're at Level 10. Embarrassing isn't even the word to use. Watching this TV show has really inspired us to cook and bake more, which you'll be seeing through this blog. I know I've slacked off before in the posting department, but trust me, I'll be posting a lot more from now on. Since we'll be cooking more, why not share it with you all, no matter how small my following may be? By the way, thank you for following this blog. It really means a lot to me!

Sassy Pound Cake with Apricot Preserve Glaze
adapted from: CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch by Warren Brown

*makes: one 12-cup Bundt cake*

"Sassy is the most popular flavor of Crunchy Feet at CakeLove! It's one of those wonderful cakes that keeps winning people over every day.

The inspiration for Sassy came to me well before I began baking. I read a book on Malaysian cooking that had a story about a woman who was pounding chile peppers in a mortar and pestle for a thick curry paste. When some of the chile splattered into her eye she was immobilized with pain. Yikes! Her grandfather immediately made a paste of sugar and water to apply to her eye. The searing heat went away and she recovered. Well, since then, I've been intrigued by the power that sugar has to tame pepper. Once I began baking, I thought a cake would be a good place to experiment.

Be sure to use pure orange oil in this recipe. Some brands are a blend of citrus and safflower oils - avoid 'em. They smell great but their flavor isn't as suitable for cakes as the pure oil."

11 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp all natural unmodified potato starch
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 lb chopped mango
2 oz extra fine granulated sugar
8 oz sour cream
2 tsp tequila
2 tsp Triple Sec
2 tsp pure lemon oil
1 tsp rum
1 tsp "Crush" pure vanilla bean extract
1/2 tsp pure orange oil
6 oz sweet cream unsalted butter
21 oz extra fine granulated sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large yolks

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Set the rack in the middle of the oven.
2) Set out the ingredients and equipment.
- Sift the flour directly into a bowl on a scale for accurate measuring.
- Measure the other dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, and whisk for 10 seconds to blend. Set aside.
- Combine the mango with the 2 oz of sugar in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over low to medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Place the cooked fruit in the bowl of a food processor and puree until totally smooth, about 1 minute.
- Measure the liquid ingredients into a separate bowl, add the mango puree, whisk to combine, and set aside.
- Measure the butter and sugar into separate bowls and set aside.
- Crack the eggs and two yolks into two separate bowls and set aside.
3) In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and orange zest on the lowest speed for 3 to 4 minutes.
4) With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the two yolks, fully incorporating after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
5) Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly through this step to avoid overworking the batter. Don't wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.
6) Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down. Don't miss the clumps of ingredients hiding on the bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter's structure.
7) Prepare the pan. Spray the pan well with a nonstick spray.
8) Fill the pan about three-quarters full by depositing the batter with the rubber spatula in small clumps around the prepared pan instead of by pouring it into one spot. Level the batter with the rubber spatula.
9) Bake for approximately 50 to 55 minutes.
10) Once the top of the cake doesn't jiggle in the center, test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer in the center of the cake. When the skewer shows just a touch of crumbs or comes out clean and the cake is a light gold color on top and browned around the edges, the cake is done. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a heat-resistant surface or wire rack.
11) Once the cake has cooled for 5 to 10 minutes, remove the cake by inverting the pan onto a flat surface. Allow it to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before glazing with the Apricot Preserve Glaze.
12) Store under a cake dome at room temperature, or wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Apricot Preserve Glaze

1/2 cup apricot preserves
3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp cold water
1 tsp rum

1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Place the cake on an oven-safe plate.
3) Heat the preserves in a saucepan over low heat until the preserves liquefy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
4) Transfer the heated preserves to a sieve placed over a bowl and press with a rubber spatula to separate the liquid from the solids.
5) Brush a light coat of the warm preserve liquid onto the cake with a pastry brush.
6) Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and lightly brush the mixture onto the preserve-coated cake.
7) Bake for 5 minutes to seal in the glaze.
8) Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before serving.

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