October 14, 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.
posted by chika at: 10/14/2004 05:02:00 PM