Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cranberry Lemon Chocolate Pound Cake

This confetti-looking cake is probably the only thing I've ever tasted that I could justify describing with the phrase "a party in my mouth." In fact, upon tasting the cake, one friend used those exact words. It also got rave reviews at The Restaurant.

Cranberry-Lemon-Chocolate. These are quintessential winter flavors, and the combination is just gorgey.* In fact, it inspires me to write a haiku.

zip cranberry tang
creamy lemon surrounds me
smooth chocolate rest

So anyway, make this cake for Christmas, and then again for Boxing Day, and for New Years, and for National Bird Day (jan 5), and for Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday(3rd monday in jan)...basically you're going to want any excuse to eat this cake!

Again, when making recipes that feature ounces instead of cups, just bite the bullet and just go buy yourself a kitchen scale. Make sure it switches between grams and ounces and other units of measure, and I got mine at the big box for 20 bucks.

Cranberry Lemon Chocolate Pound Cake
adapted from Cakelove (The original recipe used dried cranberries, and used fresh cranberries. The original also called for 2 T gin, but I just added that much more half and half and skipped the gin. Finally, these recipes always called for something called vanilla powder, which I just ignore all together.)

Preheat to 350.

Dry Ingredients:
13 oz (2.5 cups plus 1 T) AP flour
4 oz (1/2 cup) fresh cranberries, chopped. (hooray food processors!)
3 oz (1/4 cup) bittersweet chocolate
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda

(Mix together and set aside)

Wet ingredients:
4 oz (1/2 cup) sour cream
3/4 cup half and half
1 lemon (zest it into the butter and then cut and separate the juice packets from the pith and membrane, put that part in with the liquid)
1 t vanilla extract

(mix together and set aside)

1.5 sticks butter, room temp
21 oz (2.5 cups plus 2 T) sugar
1 T lemon zest
5 eggs

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer on low speed for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and the eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly between each. Switch off adding the wet and dry ingredients, in 3-5 additions. Don't blend completely in-between- this step should only take a minute.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides, then blend on medium speed for 20-25 second to "develop the structure of the batter."
Pour the batter into a well greased bundt pan. Use any leftover for cupcakes (they cook better in cupcake papers than straight in the pan like muffins). Bake at 350 for about 40-50 minutes. Cupcakes will only take about 15. The cake is done when a knife comes out clean from the center.

The book says to let the cake cool for only 5-10 minutes before removing, but the first time I made, as you can tell by the picture above, I lost the top doing it this way. The second time, I let it cool completely before removing and it was fine. However, in ordinary circs you probably won't be able to wait til it's cooled to try it. I guess that's where the extra batter cupcakes come in.

I also made a glaze for my second cake. I heated jellied cranberry sauce from a can with sugar and water and put it through a strainer to make it finer. I brushed it on the cake with a pastry brush, and then brushed on a second layer of a paste made from a little cranberry mix, some rum, and some powdered sugar. I then put it in the oven for 5 min to let it sink in.

I'm going to try it with orange instead of lemon next!

* has anyone else read Freaky Friday? Annabelle loves the gorgey word.

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