The regulars who read my post would know that there are a few cookbooks that I tend to cook from alot. Bourke Street Bakery is my latest favourite and there is Keiko Ishida's Okashi which has inspired me again and again. For anyone who is interested in baking, Tish Boyle's classic duo, The Cake Book and The Good Cookie would probably be part of their baking bibilical collection. Her books are the type of rare classics which you know, just by reading the recipes, you can trust. The books have a straight forward, down to earth quality which suggests 'tried & tested' - goodness and authenticity guaranteed.
Hence, when I decided to bake a simple, authentic pound cake to go with the Kumquat I lugged back from Korea, I knew I had to turn to Tish Boyle for inspiration. The Kumquat, macerated in a vanilla flavoured syrup has been known to pair well with a simple, buttery pound cake. When one returns to basic simplicity devoid of frou frou and destractions, you know you have nowhere to hide and have to make sure that the recipe delivers 100%. A good example is the sponge cake. As basic as it appears to be, I am still afraid of making the genoise sponge. When technique is not on point, you risk ending up with a coarse, dry cake, but thankfully, most of the time, we dress up the cake with other frills such as frosting,fruits and chocolates, making the less than perfect cake less noticeable.
Tish Boyle's Luxe Pound Cake needs none of those frilly 'life-savers' . The combination of vanilla and almond extract gives this dense, moist cake an uncomparable flavour. If you've never tried combining vanilla and almond extract together, I strongly urge you to do so as this is possibly one of the best pairing I have worked with- especially for basic recipes such as butter cake, pound or sponge.
The Luxe Pound cake has a fine crumb and it was so delicious that when I tasted my first slice of the freshly baked cake, I actually did a little dance. So, instead of smothering the cake with the Kumquat compote, I decided to just leave it on the side as a garnish and a taste exciter. I imagine the cake would taste equally good with orange flavoured fresh cream. Make yourself a nice cup of Darjeeling or Earl Grey, you would have the created for yourself, the perfect Luxe Afternoon Tea.
Recipe : (From The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
Cake Flour 342g
Baking powder 1/4 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Unsalted butter 227g (softened at room temperature)
Castor sugar 600g (I used 360g)
Vanilla extract 1 tbsp
Almond extract 1.5 tsp
Heavy Cream 240ml
Castor Sugar 100g
Vanilla paste 1tsp
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
2. Place softened butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle fixture. Cream butter at medium low speed. Add sugar in 3 separate additions, allowing sugar to be incorporated with butter after each addition. The butter should be creamy and pale after all sugar has been well mixed.
3. Add eggs one at a time, allowing the egg to be mixed well with the butter after each addition.
4. Add vanilla and almond extract.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 portions, alternating each addition with a portion of the heavy cream until all flour is added.
6. Pour batter into a lined/ buttered pound cake pan.
7. Bake at 160C for 50mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
8. Cool down cake to room temperature before turning out the cake carefully from the baking pan.
9. Serve with Kumquat Compote.
1. Clean Kumquat and slice each kumquat horizontally in half. Remove pits.
2.. Place sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Heat up the saucepan until sugar dissolves and just begin to simmer. Add Kumquats and simmer for about 5 mins.
3. Cool down to room temperature. Place a round piece of baking paper over the kumquat to keep it submerged in the syrup. Leave this in the fridge overnight.
4. Strain kumquat from Syrup. Return syrup into saucepan. Heat up syrup to a low simmer. Add vanilla paste and let simmer for 3 minutes.
5. Remove from heat. Pour syrup over kumquats in a storage container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.