Friday, June 12, 2009

Vanilla-Buttermilk Pound Cake: Weather or Not

New York summers rarely afford the opportunity for baking, but it’s been a cool June here in the city, with frequent storms and temperatures that have only seldomly risen above 80°F. Usually, Brooklyn kitchens feel like bamboo steamers this time of year. Instead, our greenery is growing like gangbusters, and we’ve managed to postpone our yearly descent into Air Conditioning Bill Hell for a few blessed weeks. Except for mistaking 3am thunderclaps for shotgun rounds, life’s been pretty sweet.

Life’s also been full of cake. Late last week, my roommate C whipped up a batch of Strawberry-Banana Muffins while I triumphed with a lovely Lemon concoction, and yesterday yielded 24 servings of Vanilla-Buttermilk Pound Cake from Cooking Light. It’s Cake City, and we are its cake-izens. Later, we will draw up a Cakestitution and elect people to Cakegress, where they'll be sworn in by the Cake Justice of the Supreme Cake. (That's how government works, right?)

But back to the Pound Cake. All in all, it’s a subtly flavored treat with a consistency somewhere between pound cake and angel food cake. Light, moist, and fluffy, it’d pair well with fruit and/or last Friday’s lemon icing (which, by the way, I have adopted as my first child). Best of all, it’s $0.14 per serving, which should provide you, your family, your neighbors, and your neighbors’ family with dessert well into 2010. And when July and August hit, you’ll be happy you don’t have to touch the oven.

Have a happy weekend, my sweets. Go forth and cake it up. You just might cake your cake.

P.S. Calories and fat were calculated by Cooking Light, so only the price per serving numbers are shown below.

Vanilla-Buttermilk Pound Cake
Makes 5 mini-loaves, 2 large loaves, or 24 muffins (or, about 24 servings in whichever form).
Adapted from Cooking Light.

13.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
11/3 cups low-fat buttermilk
Cooking spray

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3) In a separate large bowl, combine sugar, butter, and vanilla with a hand mixer set to medium speed. It should be "light and fluffy" when you're done. Add one egg. Keep beating. Add another egg. Keep beating. Add the final egg. Keep beating.

4) Alternate adding a little flour mixture and a little buttermilk into the sugar/butter mixture, "beginning and ending with flour mixture." Continue beating the whole time.

5) IF MAKING CUPCAKES: coat 2 12-cup cupcake pans with cooking spray. Distribute batter evenly among them. Bake 18 to 23 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test.
IF MAKING REGULAR-SIZED LOAVES: coat 2 8-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Distribute batter evenly between them. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.
IF MAKING MINI-LOAVES: coat 5 6-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Distribute batter evenly among them. Bake 40 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test.

6) Remove pans from oven and let them cool a few minutes on a wire rack. Pry the cakes out of the pans, and let them cool all the way on the rack. Serve

Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
24 servings: 180 calories, 6.4 g fat, $0.14

13.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups): $0.32
1 teaspoon baking powder: $0.03
1/2 teaspoon baking soda: $0.01
1/2 teaspoon salt: $0.01
2 cups sugar: $0.64
3/4 cup butter, softened: $0.75
1 teaspoon vanilla extract: $0.12
3 large eggs: $0.39
11/3 cups low-fat buttermilk: $0.87
Cooking spray: $0.10
TOTAL: $3.24

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