Clove-Anise Spice Pound Cake

"Love cures people - both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it." - Karl A. Menninger

Halloween is officially out of the way, making a clear path for the rest of Fall and Thanksgiving! Even though the stores around here kind of skipped over that holiday and are now putting up Christmas decorations, I personally can't wait for it. Everyone in my building seems happier, friendlier, people are cooking and baking more, sharing their kitchen endeavors with everyone else. For some reason, this season just seems more fun than last year's. Maybe it has something to do with everybody pairing off? I know of a lot more couples than I did around this time last year. Last year a lot of people I knew were all about being single, the party scene, not really caring about starting any Thanksgiving traditions, only caring about the plans of the night. This year, all the couples are preoccupied with making memories, building traditions, sharing with friends and families, what to make together. It's honestly quite touching, seeing as how this is always hitting close to home. I've had those same thoughts in my head this year as well. I can't wait to set up our dining table, have our first official Thanksgiving together, share all the cooking and baking duties, NOT watch any football on that day, take tons of cheesy pictures, maybe even go out to the movies or do something cute afterwards. I also can't wait to start planning our Christmas dinner together, but one step at a time, one holiday at a time! One thing that I now know will be baked for this important November date is this cake. The spices are completely reminiscent of Fall which would make this an autumnal staple on the dinner table.

Clove-Anise Spice Pound Cake
adapted from: CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch by Warren Brown

*makes: one 12-cup Bundt cake*

"My original aim in making this cake might seem strange - I wanted to blend dry mustard with cloves to create a scent that would register strongly on the olfactory bulb, the home base in the brain for our sense of smell. I like strong, assertive flavors in everything I eat, so I think a cake like this one can be provocative.

This pound cake takes direction from five-spice powder, which contains cloves, cassia (similar to cinnamon), fagara (like pepper), fennel, and star anise. I love blending anise and clove together - I just enjoy smelling the spices before I mix them in."

13 1/2 oz unbleached all purpose flour
3 tbsp organic millet flour
1 tbsp all natural unmodified potato starch
1 1/2 tsp Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla powder
1 1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
3/4 tsp ground star anise
1/4 tsp baking soda
8 oz sour cream
2 tbsp Vitamin D milk
2 tbsp rum
1 1/2 tsp "Crush" pure vanilla bean extract
1/2 lb sweet unsalted butter
24 oz extra fine granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 large yolk

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.
- Measure the liquid ingredients into a separate bowl, whisk to combine, and set aside.
- Measure the butter and sugar into separate bowls and set aside.
- Crack the eggs and yolk into two separate bowls and set aside.
3) In the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on the lowest speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
4) With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the yolk, 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 45 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 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.
12) Store under a cake dome at room temperature, or wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 week. To store longer, label, date, and store the plastic-wrapped cake in the freezer for up to 1 month.

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