OK, not really, because then you won’t be able to read. So, Pretend close your eyes and listen to this:
Sound good to you?
Because it sure sounded good to me when I read them off the side of my new bottle of Baker’s Brew Coffee Spice from Savory Spice Shop that my dear friend Nadine gave me for Christmas (also powdered honey–magic).
I thought it would smell sweet and I would immediately want to use it in cookies–maybe shortbread. When I removed the lid and pulled off the paper seal, my brain was expecting Sweet and Cookie-ish. What my brain processed was Mysterious and Earthy, and my cookie baker morphed into a mole maker in a hot second.
As a matter of fact, the first three foods I prepared using this spice were heavy on the rice, beef and chorizo and decidedly light on the sugar, butter and flour. After a couple of weeks of being denied, my inner baker reasserted herself and locked my inner mole maker in a closet so she could Get Busy.
First I got busy with some hot chocolate, because it was fast and easy. But then, I had to break out the big guns. That’s right friends: the swirly pan. Y’all, that thing is gorgeous. And as a bonus, it doesn’t hold as much as my standard Bundt pan, so I am forced to make 3-4 cupcakes along with the Main Event. The sacrifices I make…
At any rate, one of my Van Halen pound cake winners had asked for her cake to be sent to her so she could serve it as dessert for a dinner party on the 12th. And guess what? She is rummaging around on my recipe page to plan her entire recipe with Items from the blog! She’d better call her party the 7000 calorie meal or something.
Rather than just using the Baker’s Brew to provide a bass note as it did in the other dishes, I wanted to feature it, front and center. So, to the more-or-less-standard Van Halen pound cake, I kept adding the spice a teaspoon at a time, until I had added a full 2 tablespoons. I loved the flavor, but this spice blend is so well-balanced that it ended up just tasting mysterious. Mysterious in a good way, but still, I thought it needed a Little Something Else to nudge one of the flavors into the forefront while the others assumed Supporting Roles. I grabbed the espresso powder (King Arthur’s is the best I’ve found thus far), and a mere 2 teaspoons was just enough to make the coffee flavor take a step forward (or to make all the others take a step back, depending on how you look at it). Perfect.
Y’all know I don’t generally make a Van Halen pound cake the same way twice, so I am happy to report that since the swirly pan requires cupcakes (and to whomever just said “Hey lady, just scale down the recipe,” hush. I mean it) I got to taste the finished product. It really is a great cake, and I hope it’s a fitting end to Missy’s dinner party.
If you’d like it to be a fitting end for your dinner party, here’s how to make it.
- 13 oz cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 oz sour cream
- 2 oz half and half or milk
- 12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter
- 19.5 oz granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons Baker's Brew Coffee Spice
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 5 large eggs , beaten
- 4 ounces heavy cream , whipped just until thickened
Preheat the oven to 350F and set the oven rack for one below the center position.
Thoroughly spray your Bundt pan (and cupcake tin if you have to make that sacrifice) with pan spray and then give it a good coating of flour. Knock out all the excess flour. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
Combine the sour cream and half and half (or milk) until smooth. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth.
Add the sugar, salt, vanilla, Baker's Brew and espresso powder and cream until very light and fluffy, scraping bowl as necessary. This should take about 7-10 minutes.
With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle in the eggs, a bit at a time, until well combined. Scrape bowl as necessary. This step should take about 5 minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixer followed by half the sour cream/half and half mixture.
Add half of the remaining flour, the rest of the sour cream mixture and the last of the flour. This whole sequence should take no more than 30 seconds. There will still be plenty of streaks of flour. Worry not.
Scrape the bowl and the beater very well, and then mix on high speed for no more than 3 seconds.
Scrape bowl and beaters again.
Pour in the thickened cream. (I usually wait to whip it until right before adding. Just do it by hand. It's really not enough to worry about getting out an egg beater or hand mixer).
Gently but thoroughly fold the cream into the batter. The batter will be very thick and lovely. Take a moment to admire it.
Scrape the batter into you prepared pan (and sacrificial muffin tins) and smooth the top.
Bake until well risen, deep golden brown and firm to the touch. Stick a toothpick into the center of the cake and it will come out clean. This takes about an hour. One hour and 5 minutes in my oven. It could be different for yours.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes. Then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely, For a super moist cake, place some long sheets of plastic wrap over the rack before turning out, and then wrap the cake up tightly. Stick it in the fridge or freezer until it comes to room temperature (but chilling of freezing it won't hurt it either).
Glaze decoratively or just dust with a mixture of powdered sugar and some Baker's Brew Coffee Spice.
To make the chocolate drizzle, melt 2-3 oz of your favorite eating chocolate. You can do this in the microwave in 20-second bursts at half power, stirring in between.
Prepare to bask in the Adoration of your Diners.
And there you have it. Please note that the instructions in the recipe exactly follow The Creaming Method with my modification of beating the eggs to achieve a more stable emulsion. You can certainly make this cake by plopping in the eggs one at a time, but try this refinement. I think you’ll appreciate the results.
Have a lovely day.