Friday, February 25, 2011

Chocolate Poundcake-and Two Dessert Sauces

A good poundcake recipe is adaptable, and this one is no exception. I've flavoured the basic cake with raisins, caraway seeds, orange, cinnamon, browned butter, coffee, and so many other things I've lost count. The cake is remarkably easy to throw together, will last (and last, and last) without going stale, and when it finally does, tastes wonderful toasted and spread with butter. It makes a great trifle as well. Yes, it is indeed a large cake-did I mention it also takes well to freezing? I suppose what I'm trying to say is-you should make this cake.

As the cake is rather plain, I made a couple of sauces to go with it-recipes follow. The sauces keep well in the fridge as well, and are pretty nifty stirred into a glass of milk, or over ice cream.

For The Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I know you think this sounds odd, but trust me here)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Generously grease a 9 inch tube pan. Place on a baking sheet.

Cream the butter and shortening together until light. Slowly beat in the sugar until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well with each. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine the vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture in alternating additions. At the last, mix in the melted chocolate. Pour into prepared pan and place in COLD oven. Set to 325 degrees F. and bake about 1 hour and 20 minutes. You should start checking around an hour, though mine took 1 hour 35 minutes.

Cool 15 minutes in pan on rack. Cake is fragile when hot, so gently remove it carefully. Cool completely on rack.

Caramel Sauce:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Golden Syrup
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all except extract in a pan. Cook over medium heat until reduced to a thick syrup-about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Cool. Store tightly covered in the fridge. Bring to room temp, or re-warm before using. Makes about 1 pint.

Coffee Sauce:

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Golden Syrup
4 tablespoons butter
2 heaping teaspoons instant coffee
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all except extract in a pan. Cook until reduced and thickened over medium heat-about ten minutes. Remove from heat, stir in extract. Cool. Cover and store in fridge. Makes about 1 pint.

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