Sunday, September 7, 2008

Maple Cream Cheese Pound Cake


Pound Cake. It’s one of my favorite treats. It’s not fancy or pretentious. You can dress it up or eat it plain. You can grab a piece on the run. It travels well. You can make 2 loves, like this recipe does, and freeze one for later. It’s plain, but plain in a good way. Van Halen even had a song called Pound Cake:

“Well, just plain, clean, and simple wrapped up nice n' tight” And homegrown and down-home, that makes one. Cookin' up that old time, long lost recipe for me.”
Thank you Mr. Hagar for those heartwarming lyrics. Pound Cake – it’s simple and sometimes simple can be the very best thing.

I have dived into my Shelburne Farms cookout and at the current moment have about 8 recipes I just have to make. This pound cake was one of them. I must say, it’s one of the best pound cakes I have ever tasted. Moist and dense, with just a hint of deep maple flavor, it was truly the perfect pound cake experience. This recipe makes 2 loaves, so you can eat one now and freeze one for later.

Maple Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Printable recipe
8 ounces of cream cheese, very soft
1 ½ cups (yes, 3 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup granulated maple sugar (this is one thing I do not have in my pantry, you can substitute 1 cup packed light brown sugar, which I did)
1 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
6 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325. Generously butter the loaf pans. (I used Bakers Joy and it worked perfectly). In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat together the cream cheese and butter until they are completely smooth (4 – 5 mins). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the white and brown sugars and salt and continue to beat until light and fluffy, 5 more minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and eggs. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the cream cheese mixture, mixing well with each addition. Scrape down the bowl. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing on low until incorporated. This makes a lot of batter, so add the flour slowly. I had a mushroom cloud of flour explode in my face while I was adding this in! Scrape down the bowl and mix for 1 more minute until the batter is completely smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between 2 loaf pans (8 ½ by 4 ½ or 9 by 5). Smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake for 35 minutes and then turn the oven down to 300 and bake for another 45 – 50 minutes, tenting with foil if the tops become to dark. The cakes are done when a tester comes out clean and the crack in the top of the loaf is just barely moist. After I turned the oven down to 300 I set my timer for 40 minutes and they were perfectly done. Remove the cakes immediately from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Like most pound cakes this one holds up beautifully in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week. It also freezes very well.

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