Chef Rindai Murindi
OUR eating habits, luxury dishes, daily fair and even party food are reflective of our moods, seasons and ultimately pockets.
In the season of love we tend to indulge our sweet tooth —and one way to achieve this in the kitchen is through cake making.
Cake making is an art and science in its own right as it involves design, precise skill and continual experimentation to achieve and produce the melt in your mouth.
The pound cake deserves a place of honour in culinary circles as it brings sweetness, excitement and a rich dense texture to our tables at low cost.
It’s made using readily available ingredients and requires basic baking skills, hence anyone can try it and the results can be astounding.
It exudes the art of doing a lot with little.
A pound cake makes use of basic cake making ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs and butter/margarine.
These are in equal quantity — that is a pound of each equivalent to 450 grammes.
Its dexterity manifests on how one can achieve the same texture, taste and appearance regardless of the type of oven (gas, charcoal, pit, electric).
Loaf tin/cake tin
450 grammes margarine
450 grammes white sugar
450 grammes self-raising flour
2/3 cup of milk
- A kitchen scale is used to measure the equal amounts of all ingredients. It should be noted that volume is different from weight. Thus a cup of sugar does not weigh the same as a cup of flour.
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Preheating shortens baking time and the cake will be baked at a constant temperature throughout, with each part being baked evenly.
- Grease your loaf or cake tin. I prefer a loaf tin which is traditionally used to make this cake. You can also make use of parchment paper instead of greasing the loaf tin.
- In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Creaming combines the two ingredients with different textures into one smooth texture. Take your time in doing this to make sure that the butter has the desired fluffiness. You can add the sugar gradually as you cream in.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time and when one has been perfectly mixed, you add another.
- Mix in the flour alternatively, with the milk, until all are incorporated into the mixture.
- Pour butter evenly in the prepared pan. Make use of a rubber spatula to even out the top of the cake.
- Bake in the pre heated oven for 45 minutes. Check by inserting a toothpick or wood skewer in the middle, and if it comes out clean it will be done.
- Remove from oven and loosen the edges from the loaf tin using a knife, allow cooling in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from pan and serve.
Cut the cake into bread like slices, then using a heart-shaped biscuit cutter cut out the middle parts in to heart shapes and reserve the outer parts for yet another sweetly delicious ending.
Place the heart-shaped cut-outs on a plate since the pound cake is dense, serve it with ice-cream or custard on top or on the side of the cake.
You can also add halved strawberries to provide a crunchy texture which will counter act on the smoothness of the cake.
The cake off-cuts can be placed in a small bowl where they can be mixed with some custard, before chilling for an hour.
This makes a wonderful sweet treat the kids. It’s like sunshine in a bowl.
This Valentine’s Day, as we celebrate love as couples and families, try out this recipe. It has an aroma of simplicity, skill and ingenuity.
Take a bite of this homely pound cake, and I guarantee you will fall in love with it.