Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bourbon Project No. 2

Tuesday's lunch with friends was quite wonderful.  We had all worked together at the university and now that they are retired and I am otherwise idle, we don't see much of one another.  I served a risotto with spring vegetables and roasted shrimp and lemon pound cake for dessert.  I would have posted the recipe for the risotto, but I didn't actually use one.  It was rather improvised.  The lemon pound cake was based on Ina Garten's lemon yogurt cake.  I didn't have any plain yogurt, however, so I used sour cream thinned with a couple tablespoons of heavy cream and snuck in a couple of tablespoons of pistachio oil basically just so I could empty the can.  Beyond those things, I believe I stuck to the recipe relatively well.

Later that evening, after having cleaned everything up of course, I decided I absolutely must test the bourbon and brown sugar pound cake.  I've had this recipe in waiting for so long that I don't even remember where I found it.  Beyond cutting the recipe in half to accommodate my loaf pan, I didn't make any significant changes to ingredients, only to technique.  It's quite lovely on its own, but a bit of heavy cream whipped with a pinch of orange zest was a nice additional also.  This may be in contention for one of the wedding cake tiers. 

Does this give any hint as to how I'll be spending my afternoon?

Bourbon & Brown Sugar Pound Cake
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs bourbon whiskey
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbs bourbon
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan and line with parchment so that the bottom and two long sides are covered.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Combine the milk, vanilla, and bourbon in a measuring cup.  Set both aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the sugars on medium speed until fully combined and no clumps of brown sugar remain.  Add the butter and cream on medium-high speed about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the paddle and bowl periodically.  Reduce the speed to medium.  Drizzle in the beaten eggs, no more than one to two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape the bowl after approximately half of the eggs are incorporated and again before adding the flour.  On low speed, add half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined.  Drizzle in the milk mixture, followed by the remaining flour mixture.  Mix just until combined, then finish with a spatula making sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake 55 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool the cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, the invert cake onto the rack and remove the parchment. 

While the cake is baking, combine the syrup ingredients in a glass measuring cup and microwave for one minute.  Stir to dissolve all of the sugar.  Set aside until the cake is done.  After the cake has been removed from the pan, brush or spoon the mixture over the bottom and sides of the warm cake.  Allow the syrup to soak into the cake then turn the cake over and cool completely before serving.