Thursday, October 22, 2009
Afternoon nap cake
An introduction, by way of a quick note: I've been reading a few things on food photography, and one of the important aspects stressed is to avoid shadows (and use natural light, and use mirrors, and invest in a good camera, oh my). These two photos are ripe with shadows, but that's part of my point with this recipe: this is a good cake for the afternoon, to savor just after a long nap, when the shadows are stretching and you're in need of a bit of sugar to make it to your next meal.
This loaf cake was inspired, originally, by this Everyday Cake -- I'd had the recipe bookmarked for over a month. It was in the long, lazy hours of this October afternoon, spring finally asserting itself, the weather softly warm and the sun taking its sweet time to set, that I at last got around to heating up my oven.
Though I give credit to Molly Wizenberg for the skeleton of the formula (who in turn got it from the late great Edna Lewis), I twisted and I tweaked, until the flesh is quite my own. Oh, and what good cakey flesh it is: soft, and tender, and crumbly. Be prepared to scoop up crumbs between your thumb and forefinger, preferably between sips of iced coffee. Enjoy it, nap or no, but I think that sometimes even relaxation should be rewarded.
A segue, by way of a quick note: this cake has a strong scent and flavor of nutmeg -- if you're not a huge fan, I'd recommend cutting it back to a teaspoon.
Afternoon Nap Cake
1 cup self-rising cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 stick butter
2/3 cup granulated light brown sugar (it's called "rubia" down here)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a large loaf pan (I also lightly floured mine with a half cinnamon, half flour mix).
In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
In another medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating the mixture between each addition. Add the vanilla extract, and beat again.
In a small bowl, blend together sour cream and milk until just combined.
Now, for the grand mixing. Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the beaten butter, and blend well. Then, add a third of the sour cream mixture to the butter and blend again. And so on, until you've added all the flour and the sour cream to your big bowl of butter and sugar.
Pour the batter (which will be thick and goopy) into the greased large loaf pan, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake is ready when a red chopstick comes out clean.