Brown Sugar Poundcake

Brown Sugar Poundcake

Poundcake is the little black dress of desserts. Enjoyed for its splendid simplicity or made part of a larger ensemble, it is always an effortless star. My poundcake light as air and twice as tasty. Cinnamon brings an exotic perfume to the classic, and European style (Plugra or Kerrygold) butter is worth the splurge when you want to impress.

I cannot help but admire a deceptively simple cake whose name enshrines an entire recipe in one word. The pound in poundcake is a reference to how much of each of the main ingredients (eggs, flour, butter, and sugar) are required. It’s another way of saying, “a cake of equal parts eggs, flour, butter, and sugar.”

That sounds a lot like a ratio. And you know I love a good ratio in the kitchen! See the one that underlies this recipe here.

This recipe yields one 10-inch Bundt or two 4-cup loaves.

Brown Sugar Poundcake
336g cake flour
18g baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional but highly recommended)
336g unsalted butter, room temperature
6g salt
336g brown sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325º and set the rack in the middle position. Lightly grease your pan(s) with butter.

Weigh all the dry ingredients and butter into the work bowl of a stand mixer. With the cake paddle attachment, mix on low until the butter is completely incorporated and the mixture resembles damp sand.

Beat eggs and vanilla together in a bowl and then add to flour mixture. Beat on #2 for a minute. Stop mixer and scrape down the edges of the bowl with a silicon spatula. Beat on #4 for 30 seconds and then scrape the bowl down again. Beat on #4 for a minute.

Scrape batter into pan and smooth with spatula. Rap the pan on the counter three or four times to dislodge any air bubbles and then place in oven.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Turn poundcake out and cool, still on the rack, for at least an hour before cutting.

Brown Butter Pancakes

Dad's Birthday Bakes (May 16, 2016) #

I’m going to be honest, pancakes used bore me to tiny bits. It wasn’t until I started making them using the ratio from my Kitchen Grimoire, and playing with the recipe, that I landed on this version and came to love the pancake.

Of course they’re stellar with a pat of good salted butter (it’s Kerrygold or nothing) and some warm maple syrup (the smokey richness of the syrup from Sleeping Bear Farm in Michigan is superior). If you’re feeling different, mix it up with fresh or cooked fruit, honey, and/or whipped cream. Or go truly wild, lay a little bit of everything out, and let folks go all pancake bar. See also: prep things the night before and dominate Saturday breakfast with the kids. Bonus point for getting them to help you out with the dishes.

The real flavor driver in these pancakes is browned butter. Check out my Molasses Spice Bombs to get the technique if it’s not already in your repertoire.

This recipe yields about 16 1/4 cup pancakes.

Brown Butter Pancakes
165g a/p flour
6g baking powder
2g powdered ginger
2g cinnamon
10 grates of fresh nutmeg
330g milk
3 eggs
3g salt
88g unsalted butter, browned and cooled for fifteen minutes

Prepare browned butter, as described in this cookie recipe that you should also be trying, and set it aside to cool while you prep the other ingredients. If you’re making it the night before, gently warm to melted before adding to the milk.

Weigh flour, spices, and baking powder into the larger of two mixing bowls. Whisk to combine. Weigh salt and milk into a second bowl, crack in eggs, and whisk to combine well. While whisking, drizzle in the browned butter. Be sure to get all of those little brown bits in the butter. That there is flavor country!

Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and fold together with a large spoon or rubber spatula until mostly combined. Stop mixing when there are still some pea-sized pockets of dry flour. It’s gonna be fine. Mix the batter any longer, and you’ll have something more suited to a sneaker sole than a breakfast plate.

Let the batter rest while you heat a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Non-stick pans will also do, but I wouldn’t try this in stainless steel for love nor money. Once the pan’s up to temperature, pour in a tablespoon of oil or butter, swirl around to coat, and then wipe out with a paper towel. Yes, wipe it out.

Now ladle in pancakes of your desired size. I like 1/4 cup pancakes, which spread to about 4-inches. Turn as soon as you see bubbles breaking and lightly set in the middle of the pancake, usually about a minute. Flip and cook for another minute. Wipe the pan with the lubed paper towel from earlier between batches.

If you’re making all at once to serve as a big stack, hold them in a 170º oven on a plate lined with a clean kitchen towel. These reheat better in the toaster oven than the microwave, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Molasses Spice Bombs

Molasses Spice Bomb Cookies

There’s a brief moment, when biting into the best molasses cookies, that time stops and the spicy darkness explodes around you. Or at least there is with these spice packed, deeply dark molasses bombs.

Blooming the spices in the hot brown butter makes them all the more potent. (Double the ginger for a super bomb.) If you can marshal the patience, these cookies are even better the day after they’re baked.

These can be mixed in a food processor or by hand, though I prefer to do it by hand.

Molasses Spice Bombs
283g a/p flour
10g baking soda
3g cinnamon
3g ginger powder
2g ground cardamom
170g unsalted butter
120g white sugar
115g dark molasses
56g egg (1)
4g salt
50g raw or Turbinado sugar for rolling cookies

Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. When the butter is melted, increase the heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-safe silicon spatula, allow the butter to foam. When small brown flecks appear in the butter and it starts to smell like toasty things, remove immediately to a heat proof bowl. After five minutes, add the spices to the hot butter and stir to combine.

While you wait for the butter to cool, combine the flour, baking soda, and white sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat the egg with the salt and then beat in the molasses. Once the butter has cooled enough not to burn at the touch, whisk it into the egg and molasses.

Pour the egg and molasses mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to completely combine. Knead lightly into a smooth ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least two hours before baking.

Preheat oven to 350º and prepare two cookie sheets with at least four sheets of parchment paper, cut to size. Place racks in the middle of the upper- and lower-third of your oven.

Using a round teaspoon measure scoop out general balls and line up on parchment with two inches between cookies. Once they’re all scooped, lightly roll each ball between your palms to even and smooth it, then dip the top into the raw sugar before placing firmly on parchment.

Baking two racks at a time, the cookies need a total of twelve minutes in the oven. Rotate them between the racks and turn the cookie sheets 180º half way through the baking time. Cool on racks and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.