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Cherry Pound Cakes

  • December 20, 2021

Are you in a baking frenzy ahead of the Christmas holiday? If you’re like me, you’re practically done. Admittedly, I’ve had to be a little obsessive-compulsive this year with preparations, since there was so much going on in my life this month — my dad’s 100th (yes, 100th) birthday party; a three-week-long visit from London by my five-month granddaughter and her parents; and a new addition on the house that has me dizzy with all the decisions to be made. Still, getting organized is the best way not to stress, so I’ve made this large cherry pound cake to tuck away in the freezer for one of the Christmas eve desserts, and these minis to gift to friends and neighbors. I confess, we’ve eaten a few of the minis and they are so delicious, with their tender crumb and subtle almond flavoring, that they’re going to become a regular Christmas tradition. I saw the minis last year on Annie’s blog  and tucked away the idea for the future.

The original recipe is from a 2004 edition of Southern Living, and while it’s not low-calorie by any means, if you limit yourself to a small slice, you won’t burst your waist buttons. And they make such a lovely small gift that anyone would be happy to receive one. I bought these disposable tins at the grocery store and they were perfect for individual cakes.

 

I frosted them right in the pans, which came with a clear, plastic lid that didn’t smush the frosting, and made it easy to deliver them to neighbors.

But for a large crowd, bake the cake in a tube pan. I froze mine, frosting and all, and will remove it from the freezer hours ahead of serving it. I already tested freezing and thawing a mini cake, and that worked well, so I am confident that when we sit down to slice into this beauty on Christmas eve, it will taste as fresh as when I baked it. The holly leaves and berries (made from purchased marzipan and a squirt or two of food coloring) aren’t necessary, but they do say “Merry Christmas” in a most festive way, don’t you think? I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas and that the Covid menace doesn’t find its way to your house.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more).

Mini Cherry Pound Cakes
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries (or use a 16 ounce jar for more cherries)
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • FOR THE CHERRY GLAZE:
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ( 3-ounce ) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cherries
  • FOR THE DECORATION:
  • 1 tube marzipan
  • food coloring
Instructions
  1. Drain jar of cherries, discarding juice.
  2. Chop cherries, and set aside.
  3. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  4. Gradually add sugar, beating 1 minute.
  5. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.
  6. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  7. Beat at low speed just until blended.
  8. Stir in flavorings and ½ cup chopped cherries.
  9. Spoon batter into 7 greased and floured 5¾'' x 3" mini loaf pans. (I used PAM and it worked just fine.)
  10. If using one large tube pan, grease and flour that.
  11. Bake at 300 degrees for 55 minutes (both the minis and the large cake need this time) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean.
  12. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.
  13. Remove cakes from pans, and place on wire racks set over wax paper.
  14. To make the glaze:
  15. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
  16. Gradually add powdered sugar and milk; beat until smooth.
  17. Stir in vanilla and cherries.
  18. Drizzle Cherry Glaze over slightly warm cakes.
  19. Decorate with marzipan leaves and berries, if desired
  20. Refrigerate cakes to let glaze harden before wrapping.
  21. TO MAKE MARZIPAN LEAVES:
  22. Place a few tablespoons of marzipan in a small bowl and mix in some food coloring.
  23. Blend with a spoon until the color is uniform.
  24. Shape into leaves by hand, or with a small cookie cutter.
  25. Make berries by rolling little balls in your hand.
 

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

  • August 21, 2021

I’ve been overdosing on blueberries lately. It all started while I was in London and walked by a fruit vendor on a corner selling crates of blueberries for the equivalent of $4 U.S. I hit the mother lode, so how could I resist?  The vendor dumped the blueberries out of the crate into a plastic shopping bag, and it was heavy – nearly the same weight as my one-month old granddaughter that I’d been visiting. On my 20 minute walk home, I had to continually shift the bag from my left hand to my right to keep my shoulder from hurting.

At a certain point, I cradled the bag of blueberries in my arms, which wouldn’t have been so bad except I was wearing a stark white shirt. You know where this is going. Fast forward to a spray I found in my daughter’s laundry room that miraculously took out the blueberry stains and returned my shirt to its virgin glory. I later found out later however, that it was bathroom cleaner with bleach, not a spot remover for clothes! Well, at least now I have another tool in my arsenal for removing stains.

But I digress — back to blueberries. I used them all up (finally) to bake three blueberry cakes, two pies and a dozen and a half muffins. The first cake I made was Ottolenghi’s well-known and delicious blueberry almond and lemon cake, which I’ve made many times and the recipe is here. I wanted to try a different recipe for the second go-round, and decided on a lemon blueberry pound cake from Once Upon a Cake.  I made it, but substituted one cup almond flour for half the regular flour. It was good but it didn’t rise enough to create the attractive domed center that I was looking for. Moreover, after we each had eaten a slice of the cake, Trevor the cat found it on the kitchen counter and helped himself to a big chunk, causing us to toss the remaining cake, and wreaking havoc in Trevor’s “plumbing.”

photo credit: Ben Morse

When I got back home to the U.S., I decided to bake Once Upon A Cake’s recipe a second time, but this time exactly as it was written, eliminating the almond flour. The result was a perfectly domed center and a delicious pound cake.

I saved a few of the blueberries to cook down and tint the glaze, but you could keep the glaze white, or eliminate it entirely, dusting the top with only a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more).

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, packed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with a knife
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, do not defrost)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups gramulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • FOR THE GLAZE:
  • about six blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, (about ½ lemon, or as much as needed to get the right consistency)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Adjust an oven rack to middle position.
  3. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, shaking out excess flour.
  4. (Or butter the pan and line with parchment paper, then spray with nonstick spray)
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  6. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes while you proceed with the recipe.
  7. It will curdle, but that's fine.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, baking soda and salt.
  9. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remainign teaspoon of flour.
  10. Set both aside.
  11. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  12. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  13. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
  14. With the mixer on low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture, then half of the milk mixture.
  15. Beat in another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining milk mixture, followed by the remaining flour mixture, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  16. Add the flour-dusted blueberries to the batter and, using a spatula, fold until evenly combined.
  17. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  18. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean.
  19. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  20. When the cake is cool, transfer to a serving platter.
  21. Make the glaze by cooking the six blueberries with the water, pressing down on the blueberries to release the color, and cooking for a couple of minutes.
  22. Strain the blueberries, retaining the liquid and tossing the squashed blueberries.
  23. Mix the liquid with the confectioner's sugar, adding lemon juice if it's too thick.
  24. It should be very thick, almost the consistency of molasses.
  25. Spread the glaze over the cake, allowing some to drip down the sides.