Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pound for Pound

So, I went the Red Velvet Poundcake.

I've never made a poundcake (pound cake? pound directly added to my ass?) before, so this was going to be a new experience. There's a whole lotta stuff that goes into a pound cake...duh! that's why they call it "pound"cake.

The recipe comes from the Valentine's Day Food Section in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and it just sort of stuck with me. Y'all know of my total and abiding love-love-love for the Red Velvet Cake, and to see a variation on it really piqued my interest. I mean, RVC is pretty basic--cake flour, cocoa, some chemical reaction with baking soda and vinegar, and last, but not least, because it is the most important ingredient, the red food coloring.

The article in the food section compared several methods and recipes, and directions for cupcakes, the new starlets of the baking world...$5 for a cupcake at an upscale bakery just blows my mind. I want the damn thing dipped in gold for that price.

So, without further ado...I give you the poundcake:

Red Velvet Poundcake
Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 14, 2008
16 servings (or maybe 2 if you can restrain yourself)

Hands on: 25 minutes
Total time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

"If you love the color and flavor of red velvet cake, but prefer the texture of a poundcake, this version is for you. It was developed years ago by the late Jackie Tulloh, a food consultant who tested recipes for the AJC for many years, in response to a reader's request."

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (1-ounce) bottle or 2 tablespoons red food coloring
3 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting, see Red Velvet Cake recipe, or alternative frosting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and food coloring.

In another large bowl, combine the flour, salt and cocoa. Dissolve the baking soda in the vinegar and add to the buttermilk. Alternate stirring in the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour, 20 minutes or until cake is done and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan about 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Per serving: 569 calories (percent of calories from fat, 38), 6 grams protein, 83 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 24 grams fat (15 grams saturated), 142 milligrams cholesterol, 373 milligrams sodium.

(Oooh, look! The AJC has so thoughtfully provided the nutritional information...damn them! Like anyone ever really wants to know this!)

My cranky oven tends to do weird things to baked goods, and since I was baking in a dark pan, I really had to watch it closely. I've heard that you should lower the temperature by 25 degrees if you bake in a dark pan, but I forgot that part. The top, which becomes the bottom when flipped, kinda deflated a little bit and and got wavy, so I shaved it off before I flipped it to frost it. I ate the "shavings"...well, does it really matter that the cake was 2 inches short than when I started shaving? Or that I have a hard time cutting evenly and straight?

The texture was a bit denser, and it was sweeter than normal RVC...hello! 3 freakin' cups of sugar, but was good. Took forever to cool though. And...I know, I know...I should never say never, but I went with dreaded cream cheese frosting. Had the cream cheese...didn't feel like making the 7-minute one...I was running low on sugar and eggs, after the cake.

Cream Cheese Icing
(from the same AJC article)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly soft
8 ounces cream cheese
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

To prepare the frosting: In a mixer using a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the sugar and vanilla and cream until light and fluffy. Spackle on the cake at will.

Then, I slapped a cake dome on it and put it in the freezer. This is a trick taught to me by friend Kimma. It makes it very moist when you thaw it out and serve it...doesn't take long to thaw, and you know there are few things worse than dry, sawdusty cake.

One good thing about the cream cheese frosting is it's simplicity. Stick o' butter, block o' cream cheese, box o' powdered sugar, and a lil' bit o' vanilla--can anything be easier? (Am practicing for St. Patrick's Day, in case you haven't figured it out...may make Green Velvet Cupcakes in honor of our national drinking holiday.)

I would caution you to remember, when make the cream cheese frosting, to be very careful when adding the powdered sugar. You might want to opt for a small scoop or measuring cup to scoop it out of the box and put in the bowl while mixing...rather than the painfully obvious option of pouring it directly from the box. When your kitchen looks like a scene from Scarface, you'll understand what I mean.

And now must go drink wine and watch the Oscars...the yearly feasting of my eyes on George Clooney in all his tuxedoed glory.


J said...

Personally, I'd skip the cake and just eat the cream cheese frosting!

LinC said...

The whole point of Red Velvet Cake is its lightness. Therefore a red pound cake doesn't make me that excited.

Don't get me wrong -- I would happily eat it if you'd put it in front of me! :-) But it's not a recipe I'm likely to try myself.