Monday, September 26, 2016
A Kitchen Keeper Original - Cran-Apple Cream Cheese Pound Cake
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...While we have another warm spell ahead of us, fall is here. Its first signs appeared in late August when the angle of the sun changed and we no longer had direct sunlight on our deck. Summer's passing caused a momentary sadness, but my nesting instinct kicked right in, and rather than mope, I headed out to stock fresh supplies of cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. I've been so busy that we missed the cranberry harvest in Bandon, but thanks to the u-pick orchards outside of town, I have apples and pears and sugar pumpkins in a quantity that would feed a small third world country. The cake I'm featuring tonight is a personal favorite and it will be made several more times before our rains begin in earnest. It is a pound-type cake, but it has a richness that eludes most cakes of its type. It is a moist, fragrant cake that has a fine crumb and texture that is velvety on the tongue. Save for the chopping, it has the added virtue of being simple to make. I do have one caution to share with you. Pan size is important here. Whatever pan you use, fill it no more than 2/3 full. You have been warned. I used a bundt pan tonight, but my preference is to use a long pullman loaf pan when I bake the cake. Unfortunately, my favorite pan is on loan this weekend and I had to make do with a 12 cup bundt pan and a small bread pan to hold overflow batter. The choice and my preference is aesthetic and has nothing to do with the taste of the finished cake. I prefer neat slices of equal size because I think it makes for a prettier presentation at the table. You may prefer to use a bundt pan. I do hope you'll make this one. It is drop dead delicious and will have your socks going up and down. Really! Here is how it's made.
Cran-Apple Cream Cheese Pound Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 larg eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups peeled and diced tart apples
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw frozen berries)
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour one (15-cup) bundt pan or one (13 x 4-inch) pullman loaf pan or two (9 x 5 x 2-inch) loaf pans.
2) Sift flour, baking powder, salt, mace, cinnamon and cardamom together and set aside.
3) Put butter, cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat ingredients on medium-high speed until mixture is very light in color — almost white — and texture is fluffy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl once during the process to insure that butter is evenly incorporated.
4) Crack eggs into a liquid measure and add vanilla and almond extract. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour mixture into bowl allowing eggs to fall in one at a time. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl.
5) Add sifted dry ingredients on low speed; stop mixing as soon as flour is incorporated. Fold apples and cranberries in by hand using a stiff spatula and scrape batter into prepared pan.
6) Place prepared pan/pans in middle of oven and bake 60-75 minutes rotating pans front to back halfway through baking time. When cake is finished, a wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. Allow cake/cakes to cool 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely and cover with a thick dusting of confectioners' sugar. Yield: 16 servings.
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