So I did something kind of crazy this past weekend... I started testing recipes for Thanksgiving. I know that day is still a while away, but it's my favorite holiday and I am SO looking forward to it - even more so this year than any other year. I already don't eat a ton of sweets, but I am in the process of cutting back on them even more (for reasons I will explain later). However, my routine will certainly be off during Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I want to make sure that what is served is EXTRA good!
I've made the same pound cake recipe the last few years for Thanksgiving and this year I want to switch things up. I recently ran across this recipe in the NY Times and wanted to test it out. The recipe was a bit different than other recipes I'd seen... It uses cake flour instead of regular flour and powdered sugar instead of regular sugar. Beaten egg whites are also incorporated into the batter. It's also a little more labor intensive than other recipes, but I have to say that it was SO worth it. I loved it! While it's dense (as pound cakes should be), it's also moist and somewhat light at the same time. I substituted Greek yogurt for the sour cream used in the original recipe, which I think made it a little lighter and obviously more "healthy." I also added more lemon zest and juice, which intensified the lemon flavor. I think that using good-quality fresh ingredients makes a big difference as well. I haven't made a final decision on what recipe I'll use, but this one is certainly in the running... :)
Here is what you need and what to do:
1lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 lb powdered sugar
1 cup good-quality 2% regular Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Juice of one lemon
Zest of two lemons, finely grated
1 tablespoon lemon extract (if not using real lemon juice or zest)
3 cups cake flour (I used Swans Down)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 large organic eggs, separated while cold, then brought up to room temperature (see step 4 below)
Powdered sugar, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use the wrappers from the butter to grease a 10 in bundt pan or angel food cake pan. You could also spray it well with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer and cream it until light and fluffy. Slowly - like over the course of about 3 minutes - add the powdered sugar to the butter. Beat well until the mixture is very smooth. Then add the yogurt, vanilla, and lemon flavorings.
3. Sift the flour and the baking soda over a large bowl. Add 1 cup of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Then mix in 4 of egg yolks followed by another cup of the flour. Then mix in the remaining egg yolks and the remaining flour. Mix until the ingredients are just incorporated to avoid over-mixing! Scrape down the sides of the bowl and do one final mix with a rubber spatula.
4. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold in the egg whites to the cake batter. I added them in 3 stages and took my time folding them in to make sure the mixture stayed light and fluffy. NOTE: I used my KitchenAid mixer to mix the batter, so I beat the egg whites in a separate bowl using a hand-held mixer. If you have a KitchenAid mixer, you could mix the egg whites before mixing your batter, set them aside, then wash out your KitchenAid bowl to mix the batter. This will leave you with one less bowl to wash!
5. Pour the batter evenly into the pan. Tap the pan on the coutertop a few times to remove any air pockets in the batter. Then bake (see Step 6). NOTE: If you are using an angel food cake pan (like I did), then don't tap too hard or too many times. If you do, then cake batter gets under the tube insert then leaks out in the oven. Don't ask me how I know that... :)
6. It took my cake about 1 hr and 15 minutes to bake. However, per the NY times recipe, it should take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1hr to bake. Start checking the cake at the 40-45 minute mark. If it is getting too brown, then reduce the temperate to 300, then continue to test it every 15 minutes or so. The cake will be done when a cake tester (I use wooden skewers) comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched.
I love it served warm with a side of ice cream! So good!
Images by me