Friday, May 18, 2012

Pound cake

Pound cake

Y'know, there's nothing like company to get you off your lazy butt and back on track with household tasks.

When I told my fiancé that my mother would be coming over to visit and see some of the things for the wedding, he actually started picking up the living room a bit — considering that the place has literally never been clean since he first moved into it, never, not once, not even in the first week he lived there, this is really saying something. (I even put a clean apartment on my Christmas list this year. No dice — he wanted to buy me something instead, no matter how much I tried to explain how much I'd love a clean apartment instead.) I have to add, too, that my mom's not one of those hyper-critical types, either; she really, honestly doesn't care if the place is a bit messy, but for some reason, it bothered him enough to pick up a bit, and hey, I'm not complaining.

Me, on the other hand, I picked up a neglected household task, too. I decided that if Mom was coming over, I should bake something, some sort of afternoon dessert to follow the lunch I was taking her out for that day. I looked through my Pinterest to-bake board, and I found one baking staple that I hadn't tried yet but kept meaning to, and it would pair perfectly with the strawberries in my freezer, which really need to be used up since this year's strawberry season is fast approaching. It was a recipe for a basic vanilla pound cake.

This cake came out pretty good; I'd definitely keep this recipe in my repertoire (maybe with some chocolate chips thrown in next time?). The flavor was pretty subtle on its own, but it was pleasant and went nicely with macerated strawberries and some homemade whipped cream. It would be a good base for any fruit topping, or maybe an ice cream sundae, but it's also not bad as just a basic snacking cake.

My only complaint is a rather small one: Why do recipes for loaf-shaped foods always call for different-sized pans? Why is there no standard loaf size? I bought 9-by-5 pans for bread, and then I had to buy 8-by-4 pans for fruitcake, and now this recipe? It calls for 8.5-by-4.5, as if to spite me. So my cake came out a little on the short side, though still delicious, 'cause I used a 9-by-5 pan (better a bigger pan than the possibility of the batter overflowing all over the oven, I figured).

Pound Cake
Slightly adapted from Diana's Desserts

1 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Insides of 1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise and scrape out with a knife)
2 eggs
1/2 c sour cream

1. Grease and flour a 8.5-by-4.5 or 9-by-5 loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
3. Beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and vanilla bean scrapings, then beat in the eggs.
4. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the sour cream, then the rest of the flour mixture, just until combined.
5. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth out with your spoon. Bake at 325 degrees for about 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Let cool in the pan 15 minutes, then run a butter knife around the sides of the cake, remove it from the pan and rest it on its side on a rack until cooled.

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