Friday, May 28, 2010
Sometimes a cake just calls to me, and no matter how busy I am or what I've got to get done, baking and eating said cake moves to the top of the list.
Of course, boring old life, like work and errands, can sometimes thwart the best of intentions. I started thinking about this honey and vanilla pound cake on Tuesday and didn't get around to it until today. See, I've actually been busy...working. Good grief! I guess a part of me idiotically envisioned working for myself as having an endless series of weekends piled on top of each other. Taking leisurely swims, poking around the farmer's market, finally cleaning out the hall closet. (I guess I mixed up working for yourself with being a kept woman.) It turns out, when you don't have a steady paycheck coming in, all of a sudden you're a much harder worker. And things like cakes and cookies have to take a back seat.
Not for long, though. After I got through a big project for the week, I was able to focus on important things, like softening the butter and making sure I had good vanilla in the pantry.
Like most of Ina's recipes, this one is simple, rich, and satisfying. Also like most her recipes, it's best not to dwell too long on the ingredients: the fact that this smallish loaf contained two sticks of butter, more than a cup of sugar, and four eggs made me hesitate momentarily in my tracks. After a few days of eating decadently (the way everyone should when they are on vacation), I wondered if I ought to be putting my efforts toward something more austere. But then I couldn't think of anything healthy to make that sounded remotely as wonderful as this pound cake, which I envisioned golden, delicate, and perfumed with my favorite scents: lemon, honey, and vanilla.
Sure enough, when the cake emerged from the oven, I knew I had made the right choice. Doesn't it look homey and inviting?
The recipe suggests you let it cool until, well, cool. I'm a free thinker, though, and so after a very brief wait, I sliced off a thick piece. There's no rule against warm cake in my house; in fact the rule is: eat it.
The cake was delicious and moist, with a tender crumb and a perfect, ever so crisp crust.
I wouldn't say this cake is overly endowed with the flavors in its name, though. If I were going to make it again (and I will), I might add more honey and more vanilla. My version tasted of lemon, if anything, but that may be because lemon zest is one of the things I don't measure, along with minced garlic and grated parmesan. So the recipe called for a teaspoon and I probably added two.
One of the many nice things about a simple pound cake is that it can be delightful on its own, or it can fill out another dessert. I can see making this for guests and serving it with ice cream or sorbet, or even using it in a trifle if you were so inclined. I also plan to eat it for breakfast tomorrow. I'm pretty sure that in the breakdown of cake categories (dessert/snack/breakfast), pound cake can be justified on all occasions. At least that's the way I'm looking at it.