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Brown Sugar Walnut Pound Cake

August 22, 2011
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I have a confession to make.  Don’t panic, but… I don’t really like cake.  It’s not that I find cake horrible or disgusting, but when faced with the choice between cake and another dessert, I’ll always choose the other dessert.  Something about the spongy texture of cake just doesn’t do it for me.  This is related to the cakey brownie vs. fudgy brownie debate, but I think I’ll leave that for another day.

All that being said, I got a bee in my bonnet this summer about pound cake.  I’d had a Martha Stewart recipe earmarked for about two years, but I’d never gotten around to making it.  The best part about this recipe is that I originally found it as a full-length spread in Martha Stewart’s magazine, where it appeared as a pound cake recipe plus 10 whole variations with nice instructions and pictures.

First I tried the cherry preserves pound cake, tweaking it just a bit by adding some almond extract.  We all agreed it was so-so, and I ended up drizzling the leftovers with melted bittersweet chocolate when we had company over.  If nothing else, I was pretty proud of the presentation.

Now, I have to say that probably the silliest thing I did was give this recipe two chances, despite the fact that it requires a whole pound of butter and 9 eggs each time you make it.  I’ve linked the original recipe above just in case someone would like to try it, but in the end, I was pretty disappointed with it.

Nevertheless, baking psychology is a funny thing.  Feeling that I must have done something wrong the first time, I decided to try it again.  Naturally, the second variation that caught my eye was the brown sugar walnut pound cake with peach maple glaze.

The brown sugar?  The walnuts?  And that glaze?  They were calling my name.  So I toasted up some walnuts and gave it another shot.

Despite its potential, this version was also sadly lacking.  The glaze was just a little too sweet and didn’t have enough peaches for my liking.

The cake was pretty moist but just didn’t have the texture I was hoping for.

I have to admit that the presentation was almost better than my first attempt.

But what can I say?  Sometimes you like recipes, and sometimes you don’t.  If you’re looking for a good pound cake recipe, I recently made my favorite peach pound cake again, and I can re-vouch for its awesomeness.  I’ll keep my eyes open for another good variation, and till then I’ll just have to be content with the one I’ve got.  I think I’m okay with that.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2011 12:57 PM

    Shame it didn’t work out, despite you being very sporting about it (3 tries!). This post caught my eye because I’ve got a large tupperware of brown sugar that needs to be used up somehow. Would you happen to have any ideas on types of baked goods that require it? I’ve done multiple batches of cookies and crumbles already but that hardly made a dent…

    Hope you’re enjoying San Francisco! When does the new program start?

  2. August 27, 2011 1:02 PM

    (and by SF I mean St. Helena)

    • August 27, 2011 9:08 PM

      I actually moved to St. Helena last week, and I hope to start writing about the culinary school experience very soon.

      As for the brown sugar, I don’t have any recipes that use more than about 1 1/2 cups at a time. If that’ll do ya, check out this Peanut Butter Brownies recipe:

      16 oz. jar peanut butter, divided
      1 ½ c. packed brown sugar
      ¾ c. softened butter, divided
      4 large eggs
      1 c. all-purpose flour
      1 tsp. baking powder
      Dash salt
      3 c. confectioner’s sugar
      ½ tsp. vanilla
      3-5 Tbsp. milk

      1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

      2. In medium bowl, combine brown sugar, 1 ¼ c. peanut butter, and ½ c. butter. Mix until smooth. Add eggs; beat until well-mixed. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; stir until well-mixed.

      3. Pour batter into prepared pan.

      4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely.

      5. In medium bowl, combine remaining peanut butter, remaining butter, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and 3 Tbsp. milk. Beat until smooth. Add more milk as necessary until frosting is spreading consistency. Spread over cooled brownies and cut into bars.


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