Every now and then I get a little crazy enthusiastic about the joys and benefits of living somewhere that nature comes right up to my backdoor. Well tonight I mean that literally, as I went a little giddy snapping photos (with my iPhone, handheld in the dark, so pardon the quality) of this little scene in my back doorway. And the whole time I was snapping, I could hear my dad’s voice in my head, reading to my children: “Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly…” (in a sinister voice, of course).
First I watched him wrap his helpless victim up. The victim–what kind of insect I am not sure–was already partially wrapped but still alive when I found him hanging in my doorway. Then the spider went off to do something–maybe make sure I was not a threat–and this shot was taken on his way back to his meal.
Success! Dinner! Hopefully you guys haven’t lost your appetites–I apologize to the arachnophobes–but I just found this SO cool. The spider and his (her?) prey were large enough that I could see the action unfold clearly before my eyes. And for those of you thinking “Ick!” just think of all the insects that never make it across my threshold at night thanks to this guy!
I’m not sure there is a graceful way to transition to talking about a cake, so, let me just tell you about this cake! This is the best straight up pound cake I have made in quite some time. Yes it is a pound cake with a twist, the sparkling wine, but it is a subtle twist. The taste is still unmistakably pound cake. As opposed to, for example, the Lime Basil Bundt Cake, which tastes like a citrus bundt or pound cake, not plain pound cake. Did that make sense? Just make the cake–you won’t be sorry!!
- For the cake:
- ⅔ cup milk
- ⅓ cup Vinho Verde
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 oz) butter, softened
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups (378 g) AP flour
- ½ t baking powder
- ½ t baking soda
- ¼ t salt
- 1 t vanilla extract
- For the glaze:
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 T Vinho Verde
- 1 T milk
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan. Set aside.
- Stir together milk and wine and then let stand 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and lemon zest at medium speed with an electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, in 3 and 2 additions. Mix at low speed just until blended after each addition; do not overmix.
- Bake for 65-70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; then invert cake onto a wire rack. Place foil underneath the rack to catch the glaze.
- Make the glaze by whisking together the glaze ingredients. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes, until it is no longer hot but still warm. Brush or drizzle the glaze over the top and sides of cake. Cool completely before slicing.