In December 2014 I updated this cake with an awesome peppermint variation and also took much better pictures!
I promised you another Carole Walter treat, and I am not going to disappoint. But before I get there, let me share something else really exciting (well to us and everyone else north of the Mason Dixon line): Spring is here! And I have proof! Our frogs have woken up and have rejoined our society!
When we moved here last August we were forced by circumstances to rent for our first year here. The home we are renting has a tiny fountain/pond out back, and loads of frogs live there. We discovered this one day, when I reached for one of my knives and found a frog staring at me on the wooden knife block.
Some of you may think you would not be phased by a frog. Perhaps you held toads in your youth—I know I did.
Frogs are MUCH faster than toads. And much less likely to stay still.
Suffice to say the scene ended with Mommy shrieking with a frog jumping down her shirt and 2 very wide eyed toddlers, one still a baby really, staring at her with big eyes.
Luckily, I got the frog outside and that is when we discovered we had lots of frogs. Needless to say the excitement was almost overwhelming for a 2 year old. We named 2 of them Hoppy and Bouncy, and since only 2 were ever seen together at one time, Alex thought we only had 2. When winter came, we told her they had burrowed down into the mud to stay warm and gone to sleep for the winter (as far we know this is true). Happily she believed us, and has been waiting ever since for them to return.
Now we have 4 (at least), but I only got 2 of them on camera. I think maybe they are protecting a nesting (egg-laying) ground, because all 4 of them are always sitting in the exact same spots. They are not frightened of the dogs, and they tolerate us on the deck (their pond is under the deck), but if I come down the stairs to look at them closer, they are gone. We have a little routine now where I do this right before we go inside so Alex can see them jump. You know, until I had frogs, I had no idea just how fast they were. They are really, really fast.
So, just in case you live in the Midwest or Northeast and got hit by these ridiculous cold storms this past weekend, rest assured, spring is here. I know because our frogs told me so (after temporarily retreating back to their mud to wait out the cold of course).
Back to baking… the following cake is a stunner, and really sophisticated for a bundt cake. I chose to use our castle mold, just because I like to pull it out for the kids every now and then, but truthfully since this cake is not iced, you would do better with the rose mold or the Bavarian mold or some other mold that doesn’t have such peaks and valleys, creating pockets of cake that get more dried out than others.
I was worried at first that this cake would basically repeat the Lisa Yockelson miniature chocolate chip pound cakes (which I have not reviewed on here yet but are perennial favorites at my house), but it was actually quite different. It was not as sweet and less vanilla-y—the chocolate was the star, without being overwhelmingly chocolate, if that makes any sense. The high percentage cacao chocolate really made a difference too, giving it that more sophisticated flavor I referred to. I liked it every bit as much but for totally different reasons. Now I just need to try the plain whipped cream pound cake, to see what I think of not using butter in a pound cake (since the chocolate made it hard for me to tell)… If you want to try, proceed and just leave out the chocolate.
Neil’s Whipped Cream Pound Cake with Shaved Chocolate
Adapted from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More, Carole Walter
1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
1 ½ cups sifted AP flour (189 g)
1 ½ t baking powder
1/8 t salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
1 t vanilla
3.5 oz shaved bittersweet chocolate (do not stint on quality here; I used Scharffenberger bittersweet, about 70% cacao)
Shave your chocolate by your preferred method (I use a knife—the Scharffenberger chocolate tends to shave on its own). Place the chocolate in a covered prep bowl and place in the freezer.
Whip the cream until firm peaks form—be very careful to not overwhip. Scrape into a Tupperware bowl (or a prep bowl to be covered with plastic), cover and place in the refrigerator to stay chilled.
Position the rack into the lower third of the oven. Preheat to 350 F. Spray a 9 inch bundt pan with Baker’s Joy or some flour/grease equivalent. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl of a free standing mixer, using the whip attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. (No that is not a typo—this cake relies on whipping the eggs for a lot of its rise). Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking an additional 4 minutes. Then blend in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate shavings. Then fold in the whipped cream, 1/3 of it at a time. Be gentle and do not overmix but do be sure the whipped cream is completely folded into the batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch, and a wooden skewer inserted deeply into the pan comes out clean. Check at the 40 minute mark to be sure your cake is not overbowning, and if it is place foil on top of it.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and let it completely on the cooling rack. Store in a cake dome or under plastic wrap for up to 5 days.