Monday, September 17, 2012

almond cream cheese pound cake with berry coulis.

     I had never made a pound cake before. Something about the name and ingredients, I knew I'd be sunk the second it came out of the oven. I try not to set myself up for failure too often. I've learned that even with the most honest intention of purchasing M&M's strictly for use in someone else's cookies, be they in my cabinet, I will eat them in a matter of days. This is a learned truth. In the same way, I make every effort to bake the less healthy menu items for occasions when they can be quickly shared with others. In the case of this pound cake, this is a very, very good thing. It's ridiculous, friends. I would challenge you not to really register the nutritional value in your mind. Assume ignorance for a few hours and just bake it. You will only regret it if you eat half the cake (debatable, still). I made this one for a cloth diaper themed baby shower I co-hosted for my dear friend Stephanie. The shower was sweet and simple and so yummy. We made several desserts (a couple more of which I plan to share with you soon) and came across some cute decor ideas I'll include photos of below. 
     I borrowed this recipe from the ever-reliable author of Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from a traditional recipe she found. The cake is impossibly satisfying by itself, though also pretty unreal topped with a drizzle of berry sauce (aka, coulis. use any berry for this!). A friend of mine made the statement that it's pretty much like a cake with icing already in every bite. I'd agree, in that it needs nothing to improve it (though i still can't resist the coulis)! 
     Note: The first time I made this I served it just hours after baking (and actually omitted the coulis and mixed chocolate chips in instead. recommended, as well). The second time, I let it cool completely, wrapped it in saran and refrigerated it until the next day. I thought it was slightly less moist that second time, though probably an indecipherable difference to anyone else. So, bake ahead as needed and just wrap and refrigerate as mentioned. Additionally, the coulis is also a perfect accompaniment to pancakes, waffles, ice cream, what-have-you. It's an easy topping that can also be prepared ahead and refrigerated.


Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Berry Coulis
borrowed from Smitten Kitchen
yields 1 bundt cake

ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 package (8 ounces) Philadelphia brand cream cheese, room temp
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
(variations: add 1 cup white or dark chocolate chips while mixing flour in. OR stir in the zest of a lemon or orange. OR carefully stir in whole raspberries or diced strawberries.)

directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan (or butter a 10-inch tube pan and line the bottom with parchment paper)

2. Beat room temperature butter and cream cheese in large bowl on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat for at least 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one and scraping sides of the bowl down as needed. Mix in extracts, then add flour and salt and beat just until incorporated. 

3. Pour batter into prepared ban, smooth top with spatula, and tap on counter a few times to release air pockets. Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 75 minutes. 

4. Set pan on cake rake to cool for 20 minutes, then turn cake out onto rack and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry Coulis

2 cups (~12 oz) hulled, quartered strawberries (or other berry) 
(I used frozen this time, let thaw almost entirely, and only added a few splashes of water instead of the 1/4 c listed below.)
1/4 cup water
several tablespoons of sugar (optional, really. add to desired sweetness)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine strawberries, water, sugar, lemon juice in blender. Puree until smooth then press through fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. Cover and refrigerate until use. Drizzle atop individual cake slices before serving, or use on pancakes, waffles, etc.


{banana pudding in baby food jars} 


 {the lady of the evening! unfortunately the only photo i got w/her included} 



Congratulations, again, to Steph, Shaka, and Emma Ruth on the coming of another sweet girl. She's loved so much already. And thanks, Steph, for loving pound cake so I had a reason to make this one. :)

 
 

 


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