Friday, August 6, 2010

Million Dollar Pound Cake

I've read somewhere that your sense of smell is most closely linked with memory. For instance, Mike gave me a perfume for my birthday one year when we just started dating, and to this day, that scent takes me back to the first fun days of falling in love.

Every now and then a recipe comes along that makes the whole kitchen and parts of the house smell like my grandmother's. I don't know if it was her cooking or Daisy's (I flatter myself to compare m creations to Daisy), but it feels like coming home and taking a trip back to my roots. Poached chicken breasts with onions and bell peppers and bacon for BLTs cooked in the cast-iron skillet are two in particular that hearken to the old days in a kitchen with brick floors.

And now I've found another.

This recipe is another that came from my new favorite book, Being Dead is No Excuse, and I love the simplicity of it. Truly, some of the most simple things in life are the best. Give a kid a gift wrapped in a big cardboard box, and you'll see what I mean.

1 pound butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (I added this to bring out the extract flavors)
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Cream the butter; gradually add the sugar. Beat well (as in, fluffy. I beat it for a full 5 minutes.)
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.
  • Add the flour and salt to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with flour. Do not overmix.
  • Add the flavorings.
  • Pour batter into a greased-and-floured tube pan (10-inch tube pan or 10-cup pan).
  • Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until slightly firm to the touch.
  • Cool in pan for ten minutes.
I know it's odd to show the bottom of a cake, but it was just too pretty and decadent not to take a photo of that. I mean, look at all that lovely caramelized sugar. Yum.

Dump it out, and this is what you get. Can be topped with anything fancy - homemade whipped cream and raspberry coulis is one of my favorite combinations. Or you can be a purist and just enjoy it warm. This cake freezes exceptionally well, which makes it a great funeral dish.

But my favorite way to serve it.....

.... is toasted. With coffee. On a cool autumn morning (I know it's hot as hell out there, just bear with me). And not just any toaster will do. You have slice it up and broil this baby old-school. One day I'd love to have an honest-to-Pete gas broiler, but Mr. Peacock (wisely) doesn't trust me with an open flame in the kitchen. I suppose I'm lucky to have my gas stovetop.



Made by Lena