Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grilled Cheese...cake (mmhmm, that's right)

In the pound cake post, I alluded to the phenomenon known as grilled cheesecake.  Well, dear readers, I did it.  And it was good.

I first learned about grilled cheesecake from CakeSpy, the devilish dessert angel who lives in Seattle and blogs about all things sweet.  Her Grilled Cheesecake: A Sweet Take on a Classic Sandwich post intrigued me the very first time I read about it.  Since I don't normally have pound cake around, I'd never been brazen enough to try it on my own.

Well, as you know, I did find myself with purposeless pound cake.  As well as adventurous and sweet-toothed dinner guests (yes, Crystal and Avi, I mean you).  And a semi-healthy mushroom and green pea risotto that sort of justified a decadent dessert.

It was on.

Per the lovely Cake Spy's directions, I sliced my pound cake and buttered it.

I sliced my cheesecake and sandwiched it.  (Yes, I bought frozen cheesecake.  Gasp.)

I griddled until GBD.

I marveled.

We stuffed ourselves.

This is not a desert for everyday.  It's crazy rich.  It is fun, though, and different.  If I ever had a grilled cheese dinner party (which I think would be a ton of fun), this would definitely be on the menu.  Maybe with a chilled strawberry puree standing in for tomato soup.  I love things-are-not-as-they-seem sweets.  A surprising way to...

Keep it sweet. Pin It

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pound It Out

One of the things I served with my chocolate fondue was pound cake.  Pound cake is one of those things I never thought I liked because I'd only been exposed to mass-produced, freezer-case varieties.  You know, not terrible, but more utilitarian than tasty.  For something with as many calories as pound cake, it should be, at the very least, tasty.

So I went looking for a recipe that had that magical combination of good reviews and lots of sour cream. Lo and behold, I found Grandmother Paula's Sour Cream Pound Cake. (Leave it to Paula Deen to use a cup of butter AND a cup of sour cream.)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating each egg 1 at a time. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

The batter is surprisingly light.

Literate Baker notes:  I used two loaf pans since I was looking to cut my cake into cubes.  I also used a tablespoon of vanilla and a splash of almond extract.

The cake is rich and dense, but not too dense.  It holds its shape well for dunking.  It would be lovely with tea, or covered in berries.  I've thus far resisted the temptation to make a grilled cheesecake sandwich with the leftovers.  There are, however, about four slices yet to be eaten, so we'll have to wait and see.  Now that I have it in my brain and have to stop at the store on my way home and know that my store sells cheesecake by the slice, I'm thinking resistance is futile.  Resistance is overrated anyway, especially when it comes to all things that...

Keep it sweet. Pin It

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life is Better Drenched in Chocolate

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of a cube of pound cake must be in want of chocolate.  However little known the feelings or views of such a cake may be on its first being baked, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the potential eaters, that it is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their fondue pots.

Okay, so that's not exactly what Jane Austen said at the beginning of a novel not quite titled Pride and Pound Cake, but still.  Everything is better with chocolate.  And melty, dippy chocolate in the form of fondue?  That, dear readers, takes the cake.  Literally.  Or the marshmallow.  Or strawberry.

I had a long overdue housewarming party this weekend and wanted a dessert that was fun and easy to eat.  Cookies?  Too predictable.  Cupcakes?  Hard to manage with a cocktail in the other hand.  My solution was obvious... chocolate fondue.  (Actually, cheese fondue put in an appearance, too, but this is a baking blog so I won't bore you with that.)

Being Southern and not in possession of good notions of portion control, I started with five pounds of chocolate--half semi-sweet, half bittersweet.  I melted that into six cups of heavy cream along with a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of instant coffee, and a splash of vanilla extract.  I then added about a quarter cup of corn syrup (for shine) and the same of amaretto ('cause amaretto don't need a reason).  The result: massive pot of chocolate goodness.

I made this the night before and my entire house smelled like chocolate.  It. Was. Divine.

Of course, if you're not looking for a gallon of fondue, you may want to try a single bag of chocolate chips with a cup of cream, a tablespoon each of corn syrup and the booze of your choice, and a wee bit of coffee and vanilla.  In this ratio, you can still easily serve six.

For dipping, I made brownies, pound cake, and shortbread cookies.  I also put out graham crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, and sliced apples and pears.  Strawberries and cherries are amazing in fondue, but always disappointing (not to mention expensive) at this time of year.  Really, though, you can dip just about anything... and that's part of the fun.

The leftovers beckon to me even now.  Warm me... Swirl me... Eat me...

Keep it sweet. Pin It

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Tangential Baker

So, what do the Literate Baker and Ryan Gosling have in common?  Um, I'm thinking not much.  But still.  I'm way overdue for a blog post.  And I haven't baked anything super interesting lately.  And, well, see if you can follow this...

One of my Facebook friends posted the Hey girl.  I like the library, too blog, filled with adorably dorky memes about Ryan Gosling loving the library (and librarians).  It made me giggle.  I told someone else about it and was then pointed to the Feminist Ryan Gosling blog.  Good stuff.  Today, instead of paying bills or writing thank you notes on my lunch hour, I decided to surf for Ryan Gosling baking memes.  Lo and behold!  I found Ryan Gosling Bakes.  It's a fledgling little blog, but I think there is lots of potential.  Like this one I just whipped up:

I promise I'll write about actual baking again soon.  Promise.  Until then...

Keep it Sweet. Pin It