Monday, April 9, 2012
pound cake easter eggs.
I don't celebrate easter at all but I couldn't resist doing something easter-related this year when I saw pictures of cake baked in egg shells on foodgawker and tastespotting.
Because I've never done this before, I decided to dye my hollowed out eggs simply in pastel shades. Well, supposedly. The purple patterned ones were purely unintentional. My dye didn't mix homogeneously with the water and some stubbornly remained stuck on my spoon which I used to stir my eggs around with, resulting in those pretty swirls. Lucky me!
While searching for the method to dye eggs, I came across a website which has instructions for dyeing eggs in various interesting patterns. I was enamoured by the idea of a marbleized easter egg and it turned out to be pretty easy to do, so I did. The secret is the use of oil, which prevents the dye from colouring the egg. So, more oil, more marbled effect.
To bake in these eggs, I chose a pound cake recipe from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I didn't want to go through the tedious process of oiling the insides of the eggshells so I reasoned that using a recipe that produces an "oiler" cake would prevent it from sticking without any pre-oiling of the shells. And it worked.
I only had 5 eggshells to fill so I had to divide the recipe. I didn't know how much by, and I didn't want to have any extra batter, so I ended up doing a fifth of the recipe. A really small amount, less than a cup. In the end, I managed to fill only 4 eggs. 3 of them overflowed a little, even though I filled them only slightly more than halfway. I didn't think that a pound cake would rise so much! If you're going to use this recipe, please fill the eggs halfway. No more, no less.
I loved the slightly dense crumb of the cake, but I found it a bit too sweet. I would reduce the sugar by a third. And instead of plain vanilla extract, I used vanilla bean paste. Yum.
Perfect Pound Cake
recipe adapted from The Cake Bible
fills about 22 medium eggshells or makes a 8 x 4.5 inch loaf
If you're baking this in hollowed eggshells, please fill them only halfway up. Mine took 10 minutes to bake. Ms Beranbaum says that the cake is most evenly moist when baked 8 hours ahead.
3 tbsp milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar (I would use less)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
13 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8 x 4 x 2.5 inch loaf pan, or any 6-cup loaf or fluted tube pan.
Lightly whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.
Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, until blended. Add the butter and half the egg mixture, and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. On medium speed, beat for one minute to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down sides.
Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down sides.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth surface with spatula. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes (35 to 45 minutes if baking in a fluted tube pan), until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a greased wire rack. If using a loaf pan, flip the cake over so the top is up.