May 17, 2013

Amaretto Pound Cake Perfection

While at my Trader Joe's recently, I came across this interesting carton of shelf stable whipping cream. I always seem to want whipping cream, but rarely have it on hand. For under $2, I thought it was worth giving it a try. But then, like magic, all my whipping cream needs vanished. I started stumbling around the internet, looking for interesting and creative uses of whipping cream.

Instead, I accidentally came across this pound cake recipe that says it was a favorite of Elvis Presley's and it looked too good not to try. People say a lot of things about famous people like that, but after having tasted it? Total truth, my friends. It must be. This cake is too good to be a lie.

I made a few small modifications to the recipe and it turned out beautifully. The originally recipe called for 7 eggs and that just seemed like far too many. Plus, I only had 6 on hand the first time I made it. The texture turned out great anyway, so I've been sticking with 6. I also added some amaretto, because all baked goods are better with a little booze.

What You'll Need:
3 cups sugar
2 sticks of butter, softened
6 eggs
3 cups cake flour, sifted OR make the DIY cake flour (see below)
1 pint whipping heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup amaretto liquor (optional, but amazing)

DIY Cake Flour:
You'll need all-purpose flour, cornstarch, two medium bowls, and a mesh strainer (or flour sifter)

Take out a 1 cup measuring cup. Put two tablespoons of cornstarch in the measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour on top until the measuring cup is full. Dump it out into a bowl. Repeat twice and you'll have the correct amount of flour for this recipe. Put your strainer over the second bowl, and slowly add the flour/cornstarch mixture to the strainer as you shake it back and forth, which both sifts the flour and mixes the flour and cornstarch together. And volià! An excellent cake flour substitute.

The Process:
First, cream the sugar and butter together. Make sure your butter is really soft. Then add the eggs and mix well. Add your liquids- cream, vanilla, and amaretto and mix. Add the flour a bit at a time, and mix really thoroughly. The batter will be a little thick. Pour into greased pan, I use one of those baker's sprays. I like using my Bundt pan for this cake, but you could also divide the recipe into two loaf pans for easy slicing later.

This is very important, do NOT preheat your oven! Put your pan into the oven, then turn it on to 350º and let it do its thing. I am not precisely sure why that's the case but it turned out wonderfully. I'm not going to mess with success. It also means you're using less energy and have the oven on for less time, so it's all good in my book.

Bake for 60-70 minutes. The cake will (in my Bundt pan at least) rise about 3-4" above the top of the pan, this is normal. Once it is taken out of the oven and cooled, it will sink a good deal. Let it cool in the pan for a good 30 minutes before you try and take it out.

Now about that flour sifting part. Can you skip it? Absolutely. But, I can tell you from having made it both ways that the sifted flour cake has a better, more pound-cakier (yes, pound-cakier) texture. Either way, it still tastes good!

My favorite way to serve this is with some fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries. That plus a cold glass of milk- dessert perfection.

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