Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Welcoming a New Baby with a Sad Cake

I attended a baby shower on Sunday, and I was asked to bring a dessert for brunch. I felt like baking my famous pound cake which I haven't made for a long time (I got sick of it after making hundreds of them for the local farmer's market). So I tried a new twist on an old fave: Lemon Buttermilk Blueberry Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze. I just hoped that it would turn out nicely for the party.

Hoping that it "turned out" ended up being tragically prophetic! I either didn't let it cool down enough, or I should have floured the bundt pan, but pieces of it stuck when I flipped it out, and I nearly bawled. My next thought (since I made it Friday night) was, oh well, at least I have time to make something else before Sunday. But the bits I tasted were so yummy, that I wondered if I might salvage it.

I carefully stuck the pieces back on and gently pressed them in (the cake was VERY moist). And then I made the glaze a little thicker than usual and applied it very liberally to cover the multitude of sins. I put it in the fridge overnight to firm up (and so, hopefully, it would hold together when sliced). But the icing just seemed to emphasize the unsightly fault lines on the cake. So my friend, Jan, offered a brilliant solution--to hide the structural flaws with fresh spring flowers! It ended up looking lovely on the brunch table, and no one was the wiser. And it was tasty to boot! Whew--catastrophe averted!

Lemon Buttermilk Blueberry Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

2 sticks butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
5 large whole eggs
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose white flour (measure on the 3rd and last sift)
zest of 2 lemons, very finely grated (preferably, with a Microplane/wood rasp)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
2 cups frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 325. Spray or grease bundt pan and lightly flour entire surface. (Or the Pam with flour for baking makes it even easier!) Cream butter and shortening together at slow mixer speed. Add sugar and eggs, one at a time, alternating with the sugar. Begin and end with sugar. Scrape bowl often. When all added, set mixer on high speed for exactly four minutes. Sift flour three times, adding baking powder, soda and salt on last sift, then measure three cups. Whisk the lemon zest into the flour mixture and set aside. Add the vanilla and the lemon oil to the buttermilk and stir. Add the buttermilk and the flour mixtures to the bowl, alternating ingredients, beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in the frozen blueberries. Spoon batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

The cake will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes to cook depending on your altitude, humidity and oven calibration. Test by inserting a knife or tester. It's done when it comes out a little oily but no batter. Cool on rack until the bottom of bundt pan is warm but not hot, then turn out on a plate. Let it cool a bit, and then glaze with the recipe below.

Lemon Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
splash of vanilla

Whisk the powdered sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Add the butter and microwave on high for 30 seconds to one minute (until butter is melted). Add a splash of vanilla, and whisk again until smooth. Coat pound cake with every last bit of the glaze (using a pastry brush is very helpful here), then let cool until set before serving.

No comments: