marbled pound cake

two of my favorite things; bundt cake and pound cake.  two of my favorite things rolled into one; even better!  put it on an awesome vintage fenton cake plate; nearly perfection!  this cake plate came to us from my mother in law.  she sent it to us at thanksgiving and i have used it several times now.  apparently, i have a milk glass fetish and everyone in the family has caught on to it.  this cake plate makes even the simplest cake look rather elegant-it’s the ruffled edge that does it.

for the last 2 years, i have been taking classes and workshops centering on photography and food styling.  it has been an amazing experience.  the people i have met, from professional photographers and food stylists to other bloggers like myself, have taught me so many things that have helped me to improve my photos.

to take the photo of this cake, i used black foam core boards to give it a dark background.  for the lighting, i let natural sunlight illuminate the scene and positioned bounce cards to fill in the dark spots.  then i let my collection of plates fill the shot.  these vintage stangl plates were a steal at the thrift store- just 69 cents a piece!

it was interesting to see how the shot changed as i moved things around, added and deleted things.

as much as i liked the stangl plates, i was afraid the pattern would distract from the marbled cake slices once i put them on the plates.  a quick change to vintage lu-ray pastels in blue with some daisies.

out went the daisies, in came some cocktail napkins and silver plate cake forks.  these items were also thrift store finds.  the silverware is actually from a partial set i found one day, over 20 pieces of silver plate marked community that is actually an oneida pattern.  my collection cost me less than $10 but an internet search found it priced at $130 for a service of 4:  SCORE!!!

yes, i still have much to learn in the world of photography and food styling, and i look forward to learning all i can.  but as far as thrift store finds go, i think i have mastered that part!

amazing how the shot changed as the sun came out and then again ducked behind the clouds.  when photographers talk about chasing light-they aren’t kidding.  you can have your shot all lined up, settings all correct and in the blink of an eye, it is gone.  this dark shot is so moody, and almost depressing.  but at the same time, when the sun came out and lit up the set, it was just as interesting(see the next shot to view the difference).  be sure to visit here often, see what i have learned and what i have scored at the thrift store!

marbled pound cake bundt
makes 1 bundt serving 12-16
vanilla batter
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean-seeds only, scraped pod reserved for other uses
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
chocolate batter
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
preheat the oven to 350.  generously grease a bundt pan and set it aside.  the mixing directions for both batters are the same, mix the vanilla batter first, scrape it into a bowl and set it aside.  without cleaning the bowl and beater, mix the chocolate batter and fill the prepared bundt pan.
to mix the batter, place the butter, sugar and salt (and vanilla bean seeds for the vanilla batter) in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-low speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  carefully add the eggs, one at a time and scrape the bowl as you go to fully incorporate the ingredients.  the batter will be a little loose at this point but do not worry if it looks a little scrambled-it will come together with the addition of the dry ingredients.
place the cake flour and baking soda (as well as the cocoa powder for the chocolate batter) into a sifter or a mesh strainer and sift them over the batter in the bowl.  using a rubber spatula, fold it in the flour a few times.  sprinkle the buttermilk over the batter and fold it together completely.  
to fill the pan, drop spoonfuls of the vanilla batter randomly into the pan-only use half of the batter and be sure to leave gaps between spoonfuls.  fill the gaps with spoonfuls of half of the chocolate batter.  repeat the process to make a second layer of batter but be sure to alternate placement so that vanilla covers chocolate and chocolate covers vanilla.  using a butter knife, carefully swirl the batter by plunging it into the batter and stirring gently from top to bottom as you turn the pan in a circular motion.  it does not need much stirring-the more you stir, the less contrast the pattern will have when the cake bakes.  make sure the batter is evenly distributed in the pan so that the cake will bake evenly.  bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes.
cool the cake in the pan for at least 15 minutes.  carefully turn it out onto a rack by placing the rack over the pan and inverting it.  it may take a few taps for it to fall out.  

twd: clementine loaf cake

and so comes along another baking with julia adventure!  today’s challenge is hosted by truc of treats and michelle of the beauty of life.  this was by far one of the easiest cakes to make.  the headnote to the recipe states it can be made in 5 minutes, 5 football minutes perhaps, but from start to finish, it will take longer than just 5 minutes.  found on page 252 of the Baking with Julia book, the recipe calls for lemon zest and as a result, it is titled “Lemon Loaf Cake” but i had a bowl of clementines that needed a purpose in this life-they became the key ingredient for this cake.

 clementines are a favorite snack around here.  we have a holiday tradition of keeping a box of them for all of the kids to snack on and i have many memories of family members lingering at the breakfast table with coffee cups and pieces of the rind stacked in little piles.  long after the holidays are done, boxes of these tasty treats still find the way to my dining room to tempt me.

 zesting the little fruits is almost tedious but well worth the effort.
 eggs are whipped with sugar and salt until foamy and blended-a quick process

 zest is whisked in and dry ingredients are sifted over the batter and whisked in gently

 some heavy cream is whisked in
 followed by melted butter and that is it!

 into the pan and into the oven-it’s so easy!!!

the fininshed cake, looks like a pound cake doesn’t it?  the comment i heard the most-it’s so light and delicate.  personally, i thought it could have had a little more heft to it, a little more fat since it seemed a tiny bit dry to me.  anyway, it didn’t last long around here.  a big round of applause goes out to truc and michelle for a job well done!

pound cake

it all starts with some butter, sugar and ground costa rican french roast coffee
then comes the melted bittersweet chocolate and eggs

fold in the flour

and into the oven they go…this is as close as you will get to a self portrait. me, hovering around the oven with a camera, waiting ever so patiently…

little loaves of pound cake. good stuff but not exactly what i hoped for. looks like i will be making this again. imagine that