Sunday, December 5, 2010

Step-By-Step Sour Cream Pound Cake



This Christmas don’t be restricted to fruit cake.  This pound cake has a great citrus flavor and can be left in it’s simplest form, or with cherries, blueberries, or raisins added.  Read on for the ten secrets to making this pound cake deliciously perfect.
You’ll need:
A 10-inch tube pan
Softened butter (so pull your butter out anywhere from a couple hours before you make it, to the night before.)
Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs (at room temperature)
3 cups all-purpose flower
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup blueberries, cherries, or raisins (optional)
One
ALWAYS READ YOUR RECIPE BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Make sure you have all the right ingredients.  Is your butter salted or unsalted?  Check whether you need softened butter, or melted butter.  It makes all the difference.  Pull your eggs out a while before you begin baking as well.  Having ingredients at room temperature helps in the creaming process.
Two
CENTER RACK IN OVEN AND PREHEAT TO 325 DEGREES F
This is the second most important step.  Get the oven ready.  The rack and cake pan being centered is important in making sure your cake is evenly baked.
Three
PREPARE THE PAN
Butter and flour it.  Very simple.  For this recipe, the tube pan is your best bet.
Four
CREAM BUTTER AND SUGAR
Start by creaming the butter until it is super soft and has no lumps (around 1 to 2 minutes at medium speed).  Add the sugar (1/2 cup at a time) creaming for about 1 minute between every sugar adding.  Continue creaming until the combination becomes lighter in color and fluffier in texture.
Five
ADD EGGS
Like I mentioned above, your eggs should be at room temperature.  Add them one at a time, to the creamed mixture, mixing for about 1 minute between every egg added.  If you are getting impatient while waiting for each egg to cream, try a little multitasking and start the next step.
Six
SIFT TOGETHER FLOUR, BAKING SODA, AND SALT IN A SEPARATE BOWL
Modern flour milling methods give us lump free flour, so you don’t really have to sift anything.  Basically, measure our your ingredients into a separate bowl, and mix them together with a fork or a whisk.
Seven
ALTERNATELY ADD FLOUR MIXTURE AND SOUR CREAM
You want to do this so everything gets evenly creamed together.  Make sure your mixer is on a low speed, so the flour doesn’t fly all over.  Take your time with this step so you get nice, even distribution of the ingredients.  
Eight
ADD EXTRACTS.  BEAT UNTIL FLAVORINGS ARE INCORPORATED AND MIXTURE LOOKS SMOOTH AND EVEN.
Add one extract at a time, giving them time to mix right into the batter.  The next step is a really hard one!
Eight and a Half
ADD YOUR OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS
Raisins, blueberries, cherries.  If you want your cake to be a little more like a fruit cake, add one of these ingredients.
Nine
POUR BATTER INTO PREPARED PAN
Pour your batter evenly all around your tube pan.  
Ten 
BAKE 90 MINUTES
This means, bake for an hour and half straight, without opening the oven every 15 minutes to check how the cake is doing.  Trust me, it won’t disappear.  You will be surprised at how well the cake will cook if you leave it alone.  Exactly 90 minutes after putting the cake in the oven to bake, you can check on it.  Pull it out and insert a thin knife or a wooden skewer (a toothpick is too short to really get an idea of how this deep of a cake is cooked), if it comes out dry, you’re good to go.  
Enjoy!

Photo by Lady Go Lightly

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