October 14, 2004

CPBB 2004

Sunday, October 10

At about this time of the last year, there was something my fellow food lovers, bloggers and non-bloggers alike, and I would bake at around the same time, most of us more than once, in many places in the world (at least in the UK, US westcoast and Hawaii, and Tokyo). It was caramel pound cake. With a rich, luscious, bitter sweet flavor of caramel incorporated in the batter, the cake had something you just can't say no - at least if you are a caramel lover.

I liked the cake a lot for its taste, and for its versatility; while it is delicious on its own, it also makes a reliable base for a wide range of variation - from various nuts chocolate to dried fruits or chocolate. Last year I baked the cake over and over with different ingredients, all of which turned out lovely.

For the past several months I was kind of over it and being into other stuff, but just recently my friend and excellent baker Joyce was in the vanguard of us all and baked a caramel pound cake. We were all so excited and, with a sudden urge of baking caramel pound cake on our own, decided to do the Caramel Poundcake Baking & Blogging 2004, hosted by Naoko-san who first introduced the recipe for the cake to many of us last year.

I was in for the event with my first caramel pound cake of the season - fig & chestnut caramel pound cake. I've got a lot other ideas, but couldn't help but trying one of my favorite combinations.

The recipe I used actually is from somewhere else (here (in Japanese)) but pretty much the same as the one Naoko-san gave us; it is a very basic recipe for pound cake (I reduce the sugar a bit), but with caramel sauce incorporated in the batter, which you can make by heating granulated sugar until it is amber (I like to have my caramel pound cake really caramely so I make the sauce really dark amber, but not go further to burn it up) and then adding heavy cream.

Other than the part of making the caramel sauce and cool it to room temperature, the whole process is really easy. I added cubes of dried plump Calimyrna figs and subtly sweetened steamed chestnuts that I had soaked in brandy overnight, baked two mini loaves of caramel-rich folks loaded with figs and chestnuts.

They turned out beautiful, caramel aroma and color inside and out. Figs and chestnuts went perfectly well in the sweet but slightly bitter cake. While it tastes lovely right away, but the cake does develop its flavor wonderfully over few days; the already delicious cake will be even more delicious, although, admitted, it is hard to keep it away from your sight for more than one day. But it really is worth an effort.

Oh, I can't complete a project of making caramel pound cake without having a cup of caramel milk, by the way; after you have tried to scrape out as much caramel sauce as you can from the sauce pan, you are still likely to have some sauce sticking to the bottom and side of the pan. Although you can dump it in a dishwasher or soak it in water to loosen the thick sauce, you can pour some milk in the sauce and leave it for a while - here you are, just a small cupful of caramel milk. This might be the third but not the last reason that I keep baking caramel pound cake - a discreet cup of happiness just for myself.


Reid said...

Hi Chika,

I've never had caramel pound cake of any sort, but I can imagine how wonderful it must taste. I like your idea of using figs and chestnuts for added texture and flavor. I'm sure they compliment each other quite well.

Estelle said...

I read your post twice, which should give you an idea of how delicious the whole description sounds! Is there any link to Joyce's page, so that we can see her cake too?

On a different hand, I really like your fork =) Soon you'll think I am a silverware freak (I already said I liked your one spoon)! Speaking of this, I actually bought two designer spoons at Bodum in France and I am so glad I did!!

Anonymous said...

Bonjour Estelle! I see you are being drawn in by the lure of caramel! I baked my cake in a 8-inch round pan this time. You can see it at:

The one I baked last year can be seen at:

Happy Baking! - Joyce

Fiona Kennedy said...

Your cake looks so yummy that my tummy is rummbling! I couldn't find the recipe- is there any way you could email it to me?

Bekah said...

Me too, me too! I am interested in the recipe also. It looks so goood!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could reach into my PC and take that slice for myself. Caramel + figs + chestnut, all the things I like combined in a pound cake, must be something marvelous.


obachan said...

Boy, your cake looks so yummy! And I love this idea of making caramel milk ;)

fish fish said...

OMG! Caramel n figs... r the 2 things I can't resist. They look sooo yummy! Slurp... wish I can hv one now.

chika said...

Hi caramel lovers out there,

If you are interested in the recipe for the caramel pound cake, drop me an emal at shewhoeats(at)yahoo(dot)com and I will send you a translation of the recipe I have in Japanese. It might take me a while to translate and send it to you, but I will be more than happy to share the recipe for this lovely cake!
Thanks :)

Reid - I forgot where I got the fig x chestnut combo first, but I love it now. I got your message btw, it should be on its way hopefully soon :9

Estelle - you know what, the folk is of the same line as the spoon you liked! :D I like bodum too, never been to one in France though...

Joyce's given you a link to her own entry, and here are links for ones by other CPBBers that I know of as of now: Naoko, t-fortunati, & soleil (they are all in Japanese, but you'll get to see pics for sure!)

Joyce - thanks for the links! I can't wait to see the results of your next installment... maybe it's already out of the oven, waiting to be eaten by me? (I wish!)

Fiona - sorry, I put the link for the recipe in this post, but it's in Japanese and I haven't put it in English yet. If you could drop me a line and I'll make sure you'll have it!

Bekah - yeah, it looks good and it tastes just great. you'll see it when you have it ;)

umami - oh if you like caramel, fig and chestnut, this cake's really for you, though it tastes just as good plain.

obachan - seriously, there is something about it, something not quite the same as making caramel milk just for the sake of making caramel milk, if you know what means...

fish fish - oh you can never have this just ONE, can you? :P

Anonymous said...

Just had a lovely cup of caramel-y milk. Yum. The second batch of cake will be coming out of the oven in about 20 minutes. I've added some boozed up apples in this one!


Estelle said...

I checked Joyce's blog and her cake looks really yummy too! I don't need to understand Japanese to enjoy foreign blogs, food is a universal language :)

chika said...


Joyce - that one with apples in calvados looked absolutely tempting! Good luck with using up a whole bottle ;D
apple tart, apple pie, apple cake, apple savarin, apple pudding, or chicken/pork/duck/pheasant with calvados...

Estelle - I think you're right, blogs in language I don't understand can still entertain me a lot with nice pics :)

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