Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pound Cake Challenge - Week 1: Coffee Cake Pound Cake!

So what exactly gets in one's mind that they decide to do a Pound Cake Challenge?  The love of the pound cake?  The sheer excitement of tasting a pound cake recipe you've never tried before?  An excuse to make a pound cake every week? Why yes.  Everyone needs goals and aspirations.  Life's short, eat pound cake.  (I'll call it LSEPC).  Those YOLO people don't have anything on me!

So what exactly is this going to entail?  Very simple indeed.  I'll make a pound cake a week and post the recipe and photos on the blog every Thursday between now and the end of the year.  If my calculations  are correct, that's 18 pound cakes!  Who's excited?

So where do we start?  There are lots and lots of great pound cake recipes out there.  I've made many a pound cake in my day and we've got several great recipes on this blog as well as in the What's for Supper archives on the site.  I mean, there was the infamous Peach Pound Cake (famous in my mind only I'm sure);  the Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pound Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze (lawdy have a mercy that's a good one); and a personal favorite, the Five Flavor Pound Cake.  Well, that's enough right there to get our mouths a-watering for pound cake.

But my goal with this challenge is to try pound cake recipes I've never tried before.  Who knows? I might end up creating a few along the way.  Honestly, what's wrong with a Candy Corn Pound Cake (anyone who knows me knows about my love of the candy corn)?  Or a York Peppermint Patty Pound Cake (another personal favorite)?  Please do not judge my love of the sweets.  

So to start our Pound Cake Challenge, I'm going to choose one from our cookbook this week, "Southern Living's Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook" - Coffee Cake Pound Cake.   (Don't forget -  I'm giving away a copy of the cookbook tomorrow morning on the radio show, WDUN AM550 at 8:20.)   So here we go .... drum roll please ....

Pound Cake Challenge - Week 1:  Coffee Cake Pound Cake  

Ingredients for Pecan Streusel:
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Ingredients for Cake Batter:
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions for Streusel:
1.  Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. 
2.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles small peas.  Stir in 3/4 cup pecans.

Directions for Cake Batter: 
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Bake 1 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.  Cool 20 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. 
3.  Beat butter on medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy.  Gradually add granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.
4. Stir together flour and baking soda, add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.
5.  Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.  Stir together toasted pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over batter.  Spoon remaining batter over pecan mixture; sprinkle with Pecan Streusel.
6.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
7.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Some photos for your viewing pleasure ...

The Cast of Characters:

Yes, the pecan bag is empty.  I'd already put those pecans in the oven for toasting.  For the record, I prefer to only use Stone Mountain Pecans from Monroe, Georgia.  They are the best. And they come from right down the road.  And you need to know this because JandJ buys from Georgia farmers when possible. 

Making the streusel .... (streusel is a funny word)

Now onto the cake batter.  Really the best way to do a pound cake is with a stand mixer.  Otherwise, there is a lot of upper body movement with the hand mixer which is not necessarily a bad thing.

One egg at a time ....

Flour mixed alternately with the sour cream ...

Okay, let's pause here for a minute.  While it's tempting to use the baking spray for your tube pan, let's not.  I know it's a hassle to spread that shortening on that pan.  It's greasy and yucky.  However, feel free to use it as a moisturizer.  I may or may not have rubbed it on my elbows and heels.  Oh, I kid.

Dust her up with some flour now.

Half the batter with the pecan mixture (not the streusel).

Other half the batter.  Now you can use the streusel.

One hour and twenty minutes later, perfection comes out of the oven.
 Now, 20 minutes later, all cooled off and nowhere to go. 

And that ladies and gentlemen completes our very first Pound Cake Challenge!  I do believe we have a success on our hands!

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