When this month’s hostess for my book club asked me to bring dessert, I immediately jumped on it as an opportunity to bake a cake. Cakes are kinda tricky–at least in my home–because it is hard to give away part of a cake (although John’s department and students do receive half-cakes from time to time), which means if I want to try it, it is probably going to be at my house. Which means I will eat it. All of it. Not at once of course, but still. So I like baking cakes to bring to other people’s homes–I get to bake the cake (and I love making cakes, especially bundt cakes), I get to try the cake, and other people hopefully get to finish the cake (although in this case I do believe it is John’s students who will be finishing the cake since we only ate about half of the cake at book club).
I’d been eyeballing this bundt cake since receiving Cake Keeper Cakes because I was fascinated by the cold oven method, which allows the cake to rise even further. As a result the cake is lighter (seeming) than other pound cakes, not quite so dense. It is moist but not super moist. Actually this would be a nice cake for a simple, quick warm cake lemon glaze, although it was good without it. I also liked the crust on this cake–not all pound cakes crust nicely, although I have not completely decided the reason for this, and this one did. Chattman says the extra time for rises also translates to extra time for developing a nice crust. The dark golden true crust is much more appetizing than a cake where the outside is the almost the same color as the outside.
A quick word about photos: it turns out not everyone designs their kitchen around the concept of having bright light for phoographng food. Who knew? So please excuse the sliced cake pictures; the hostess very graciously allowed me to get there early to take pictures of the sliced cake, but the lighting was very tasteful and warm–which meant I probably looked great but my cake pictures not so much. (Note: as of September 2015 I baked this cake a second time, and the photo above this paragraph is of the updated cake. I recommend checking out the new cake for its use of Fiori di Sicilia.)
Cold-Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Closely adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes, Lauren Chattman
3 cups (330 g) cake flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/2 cup superfine sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 T vanilla
1 T lemon zest
1 1/2 T grated fresh ginger, optional (I left out)
Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position. Spray a 12 cup bundt pan with a grease/flour combo such as Baker’s Joy (or do it yourself). Set aside.
Thoroughly whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese for 30 seconds on medium speed until it is quite creamy. Add the butter and beat for 1 minute on medium speed, until the butter and cream cheese are completely blended. With the mixer running on medium high, slowly add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at regular intervals.
With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. After the last egg, add the vanilla, lemon zest and ginger (if using). Beat for 30 more seconds.
Turn the mixer down to low and add the flour in 5 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. After the last addition, beat the batter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape the batter into the prepared bundt pan, smoothing the top out when finished. place the pan in the cold oven. Turn the temperature to 325 F and bake for 65-80 minutes–do not open the oven until after the 1 hour mark (to check for doneness). The cake is done when it is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Then invert it onto a cooling rack and cool completely before serving (I made my cake 24 hours in advance and just kept it well wrapped in an airtight cake keeper).