Thursday, March 12, 2009
Cardamom Vanilla Pound Cake
I am addicted to food magazines. I currently subscribe to Bon Appetite and Martha Stewart Living, and I regularly purchase Gourmet, Food and Wine, and Saveur. It's absolutely ridiculous how much time and money I spend on this magazines, but I just love perusing the recipes! Every now and then I feel a little guilty about this indulgence, and I make a point to cook several things from a recent publication. This week I decided to try out the Cardamom Vanilla Pound Cake featured in the March 2009 edition of Gourmet. Here's the recipe with photos and some commentary along the way.
Cardamom Vanilla Pound Cake
*Use a 12-cup kugelhopf or bundt pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 whole vanilla beans, halved lengthwise
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 1/2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 F with rack in middle. Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
2. Whisk together flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat together butter and granulated sugar in mixer at medium speed, scraping side of bowl occasionally, until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean with tip of paring knife into butter mixture, reserving pods for another use, and beat until combined well, about 1 minute.
A split vanilla bean -- gorgeous!
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in lemon juice until combined well. At low speed, add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
3. Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top. Gently rap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
I love the flecks of vanilla bean in the batter.
4. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan 1 hour, then invert onto a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour more.
It puffed up a lot after baking, but after resting for about an hour it became more dense.
5. For whipping cream: Beat cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla extract using whisk attachment of mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Serve cake with whipped vanilla cream.
I found the cake to be very subtle and satisfying. It was very moist, and the flavors intensified the longer it sat. The fresh vanilla bean really made all the difference between this cake and one flavored with vanilla extract. [I was quite shocked by the price of the cardamom ($8.99 for a small bottle) and the 2 vanilla beans ($9.99) at Publix. Because of that, I think this will have to be a special occassion cake from now on!]
The whipped cream was a perfect accompaniment. A fruity ice cream would also be delicious served alongside the cake.
This is definitely a cake I will make again. It filled the house with such a wonderful smell as it baked, and a small slice with a little cream was incredibly satisfying.