Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gee-Gee's Marble Pound Cake

I love to cook. I love spontaneously throwing in this or that and tasting as I go along to serve up something just right. With baking, all of that goes out of the window, sort of.

Julia's Gee-Gee(great grandma) has finally arrived and I wanted to bake her a special treat. A few birdies told me that marble pound cake would be a win-win. So I googled a basic recipe.

Side Note: When we got married in St. John, We ate dinner at this amazing little Northern Italian style restaurant. We ordered Cayenne pepper chocolate ice cream. It was Phenomenal! The blend of chocolate with a kick really impressed us. Now it seems everyone is doing that these days. Remember this little story it will be important later.

Basic recipe... bittersweet chocolate,strongly brewed coffee,butter, eggs, sugar,flour,baking soda,baking powder, salt, vanilla, and plain yogurt.

After reading "The Dessert Bible" a while back I learned the "proper" way to merge ingredients, even if it isn't listed in the recipe as such and what key words to look out for in order to help with the order and style of your dessert. I follow those rules...some of the time.

I started out sifting the flour, baking powder/soda and salt, creamed together the sugar and butter, added in the eggs 1 at a time and then it was time to add in the vanilla and yogurt. I look in my baking pantry. OMG no vanilla? how can that be...OK maybe I put it in the spice cabinet by mistake. Looking, looking, moving things around, looking... OMG

The Cayenne pepper falls into my flour mixture and the cap wasn't secured tightly(this happens when you cook with a toddler running around and an infant watching your every move while he sits in his nap nanny in the kitchen doorway)...There is Cayenne pepper in my cake mixture holy crap... Do I start  over?*see side note above*

I'd say it was roughly 1/4 tsp.

Back to the no vanilla extract situation.. AH HAH! VANILLA yogurt!! two birds with one stone... Life gives you lemons sometimes, man... Make lemonade, or cayenne pepper vanilla yogurt pound cake.

Once your mixer is all creamed up with butter, sugar, yogurt and eggs. Add in your flour mixture and some milk.

In a double boiler, or the microwave, melt half a bag bittersweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon coffee.

Divide the batter in half and add in your chocolate mixture to one of them. Spray a loaf pan or bundt pan with cooking spray and start to pour in your batter. Since this is sort of a "gift" cake, I wanted it to look professional. I poured a little chocolate batter on the left then a little vanilla batter on the right, and then did the opposite until the pan was half way full. Then I took a knife and scribbled little circles in the batter. 350 for 35 minutes.

I made 1.5 of these cakes so that hubby and I (and Julia) could taste test before giving it to Gee-Gee. The result was a delicate, airy pound cake with beautiful marbling and a great taste. But I couldn't stop there of course. I prepared a chocolate ganache with a drip or two... or three of Kahlua and drizzled it over the top of the cake.

You don't taste the pepper exactly but what you do taste is a stronger chocolatey-ness...It's rather hard to explain if you've never experienced it. It adds a little bit of sophistication to a classic and mostly basic cake. I would still use the vanilla yogurt instead of plain, but next time I would also add in vanilla extract(1/2 tsp would do the trick) as well but only to the half without the chocolate, that way both sides get that extra dazzle.  

After an echoing "more cake momma more cake momma cake cake cake cake" I am assuming that meant MMMM delicious in toddler speak.( no boozy ganache on her piece)

Here is the break down of the other aforementioned ingredients.  
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
2 and 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2.5 tsp baking powder
6oz bitter sweet chocolate (half a package if using chips)
1 tbsp strong coffee
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla

and don't be a chicken okay? Throw in that cayenne pepper.

*the easiest ganache recipe is as follows*

This yields enough for this cake and a little extra for dipping pretzels into tee-hee.

1/2 cup heavy cream in a small pot on the stove until it starts to get those little bubbles around the side.
throw in the other half bag of chocolate chips. let it sit for a moment and then whisk it until smooth. Add a tablespoon flavored liquor or vanilla extract or coffee or leave it alone. whatever your heart(or stomach) tells you.

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