Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake served with Raspberry Sauce 
What a couple weeks it has been! Last weekend we attended the Tucson All Souls Procession which coincides with the traditional Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration throughout Mexico. The event was wonderful with lots of interesting costumes and people! Certainly, this is something in Tucson that is not to be missed!

Following the procession, I got to work on Dennenkoeken for Karin and the homeless project. She's now feeding 100+ people every weekend in the parks! Luckily, some of her newer helpers have been able to hook her up with a local high end bakery who is providing leftover cupcakes twice weekly! That certainly cuts down on the amount I have to make each week to keep up! (About 5 or 6 dozen cookies at a shot is about my limit in my small kitchen!) Of course, who would have thought the homeless folks would be eating gourmet cupcakes sprinkled with gold powder! I taste tested one of the Red Velvet cupcakes that were donated and it was very good. The icing was incredible and I'm going to set about trying to replicate it over the next several weeks. I think it's a combination of butter-cream and cream cheese frosting that is whipped. If I'm successful I'll post my "knock off" here.

Karin also was honored with a "Ben's Bell" this past week. Ben's Bells are local honors that are highly prized. They are presented to people who do extraordinarily good works in the community. Karin certainly deserved hers! It's hard to imagine the work that goes into her meals each week. When I dropped off the Dennenkoeken yesterday she was running behind in her preparations. She and Jen were frantically trying to finish the Tortilla Soup before 5pm and still had nearly 30 pounds of zucchini to chop! Since I had some free time, I stayed to help with the chopping. She was preparing four huge (and I do mean huge) pots of the soup - 2 for each day. Her love and dedication just can't be measured and I'm happy I was able to help her meet her deadline.

Yesterday also happened to be our friend Nora's birthday. She had requested a "spice cake" for her birthday and they were having a little party at the Animal Inn for her. So, Friday night when we got home from a fun evening at Flandrau Planetarium's Pink Floyd laser show, I set about making an Apple Cider Spice Cake for her. The cake was a hit at the party so I'm glad I was able to make her birthday special with a cake.

With all the goodies out of the house, I decided to use up some cream cheese I had in the fridge by doing a Cream Cheese Pound Cake. This recipe comes from Southern Living's Classic Southern Desserts cookbook.

Of course, sour cream pound cakes are very common and my favorite "Gert's Mama's Pound Cake" features sour cream for a smooth and moist interior. But I'd never seen cream cheese used in place of sour cream. I wondered how it would turn out.

The result was wonderful. This cake is very tasty with a hint of tang from the cream cheese and a nice buttery vanilla flavor. This is excellent served barely warm with no icing. I opted to use a warmed slice with some chilled Raspberry Sauce for a lovely dessert. The texture of this cake is very soft and velvety. My only caveat is to remember to place your oven rack so that the top of the cake pan is just above the center of the oven. I forgot to do that and had my rack set too high so the top (bottom when removed from pan) got done too quickly and cracked. It didn't affect the taste but I was glad this was going to be enjoyed at home as it wasn't as pretty as I'd have liked.

This is certainly a cake to add to your repertoire and a wonderful classic to serve with any meal.

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1/2 tbs. lemon extract

Preheat oven to 300°. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Gradually add sugar while beating well. Add eggs one at a time beating each until incorporated.

Combine flour and salt and gradually add to butter mixture while beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan (or Bundt pan).

Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack until completely cooled (about 1 hour).
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