There was the most chocolatey of cakes. There was the spiciest of cakes. There was the most citrusy of cakes. There was the prep time. There was the baking time. But most importantly, there was the eating time. Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system (thanks, Ms. Liu!) let’s talk holiday baking. Now, it’s probably obvious by now that we don’t do Christmas around here. Hence, no yule logs, reindeer cookies, or gingerbread houses on the blog. Despite not celebrating the winter holidays, I, like many others, am grateful for the end of year break. Time to unwind with family, watch The Interview, or maybe get in the kitchen to do some baking (read: eating). I kept it simple with these cakes. No fancy techniques here. Just some basic creaming together of butter and sugar, then flavoring, dry ingredients, and voila. You have cake. My sous chef and the forever cluttered kitchen island. All three recipes are from an old issue of Fine Cooking magazine that I got, oh, 5 years ago. Just been sitting on my shelf while I browse online recipes. WHY? Each cake turned out so wonderful. Your search for perfect pound cake, everyday chocolate cake and spicy, earthy gingerbread stops HERE. NOW. Confession: I haven’t yet tried the pound cake. But as soon I do I will post my findings. I tweaked the original recipe by adding orange zest and orange extract to the batter. You could go the extra mile and drizzle orange icing on top – but I thought it would look pretty with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I’m going to pretend I wasn’t an awful parent by not letting my kids eat the powdered sugar face down into the bowl.
I love the bundt pan I used for this cake. Not only is it out of this world pretty – it’s durable and has a non stick lining that requires minimal greasing to the get the cake out. Williams Sonoma really gets it right. You just have to take care not to use any metal spatulas or knives when loosening the cake. Those will scratch the surface and eventually reduce the effectiveness of the lining.
Even this chocolate frosting is a newbie recipe. It’s made with creme fraiche and unsweetened chocolate. Fancy shmancy. Totally not necessary for this cake – I actually thought some whipped cream would have been great with it. But I don’t think anyone will mind the frosting. I think this cake will make one pregnant woman very happy tomorrow. This cake actually rose higher than the one pictured in the magazine. My baking dish may have been smaller than it’s supposed to be (I’ve never actually measured it – is it 8×8 or 9×9?? I may never know.) The gingerbread got a dollop of some creme fraiche/maple butter concoction. SOO good.
Adapted from Fine Cooking.
Orange Pound Cake
If you’d like to stick to the original version, nix the orange zest and orange extract. Increase vanilla extract to 1 1/2 tsp.
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp orange zest (from two navel oranges)
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temp
- 3 large eggs, at room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp orange extract
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour or 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Cream butter and sugar for about 2 minutes at medium speed. Add orange zest. Turn the speed down and add the egg yolks, one at a time, then the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and continue mixing on low.
- Add the vanilla and orange extracts to the milk. Add half the flour mixture to the batter. When combined, slowly drizzle in the milk mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture until there are some streaks of flour still visible. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula, scraping down the bowl to incorporate everything.
- Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Everyday Chocolate Cake
- 10 tbsps softened butter
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsps all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups freshly brewed coffee
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 square baking dish.
- Cream the butter and sugar at medium speed for 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated. Add vanilla.
- With the mixer turned off, set a sifter over the bowl. Add flour, salt, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. Sift directly onto the butter/sugar mixture. Add the coffee and mix gently by hand until combined (I did not do this by hand and got the dry ingredients ALL OVER MY COUNTER).
- Pour into prepared pan and even the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 40 to 43 minutes – some crumbs may stick to toothpick but that’s ok. Let cool before frosting (if you are frosting).
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- pinch of salt (I did two pinches)
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup dark molasses
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 2/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish. Sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- Beat butter a medium speed until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl and continue mixing at low speed. Add molasses slowly. Add half the dry ingredients, then the cold water, then the remaining dry ingredients. Mixing until almost fully incorporated. Finish mixing by hand – scraping down the bowl as you go.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Toothpick inserted should come out clean.
- Combine creme fraiche or sour cream with maple syrup. Serve with cooled cake.