Last week, I found myself in a familiar situation of having a few deadlines to meet once again. This time, it was the buttermilk, yogurt, banana and peanut chocolate chips that I overbought on impulse. It was funny because I don't even like peanut chocolate chips and I still bought 2 bags that I knew was going to expire in less than a month time.
Well, that's the consequence of going grocery shopping alone. I tend to overbuy stuff that I vaguely know I am going to use, somehow , somewhere. But never get to use them soon enough before their expiring dates. For instant, I have two containers of mascarpone cheese in the fridge which have been sitting there for more than 2 weeks. They are just waiting for an opportunity to be transformed into a Tiramisu cake. I better make the cake before it's too late....
Coming back to meeting deadlines. Just a day before the expiring date of the buttermilk, I whipped up a batch of Alice Medrich's Chocolate Pound Cake. I was drawned to this cake for various reasons. Firstly, it's Alice Medrich's favorite pound cake recipe. Secondly, I had made the version with the raspberry puree with great success not too long ago. And thirdly and most importantly, I have 8 boxes of Valrhona Cocoa Powder. I am now convinced that anything that has been touched by these fabulous powder will be turned into gold. (well, the cocoa powder doesn't come cheap by the way. If it wasn't for the good fortune that led me to buy some at half price, I doubt I would buy any of them).
Enough said, I made a batch of the cake into cupcakes, dipped them into chocolate glaze and swirled some white and milk chocolate on top. They looked exactly like these. Even without the glaze, the pound cake was moist and chocolatey to be enjoyed on its own.
The lovely cupcakes were promptly deported from our apartment on the next morning as OCT's Friday meeting treats. Because I kept dreaming about them the next day, I whipped up another batch of the cake. This time, I make it in a 9-inch springform pan and slice it in half. On Saturday morning, they were topped with some very ripe banana slices and Alice's Whipped Chocolate Ganache. I even considered of covering the cake with another layer of chocolate ganache. But decided to take it easy, and simply dust it with a star stencil that OCT helped me to make.
And for the expiring yogurt and peanut chocolate chips, I made a batch of the usual banana bread and sent them away to OCT's lab too. If I get some yogurt again this week, I can forsee myself making another batch of the banana bread. ...
Chocolate Pound Cake
adapted from Alice Medrich's A Year in Chocolate
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk at room temperature
2 tsp instant espresso or coffee powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softenend
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Line the muffin tin with fluted paper liners.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, then sift onto a sheet of wax paper. Set aside.
Combine the buttermilk, instant espresso powder and vanilla in a small bowl, set aside.
In a medium to large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for a few seconds, until creamy. Add the sugar in a steady stream and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Break the eggs into a cup or small bowl and whisk to combine the whites and yolks. Take a full 2.5 to 3 minutes to dribble the eggs gradually into the butter mixture, beating constantly.
Stop the mixer and add one third of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed only until no flour is visible. Srop the mixture and add half of the buttermilk mixture. Beat only until absorbed. Repeat with half of the remaining flour, all of the remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally the remaining flour. Scrape the bowl as necessary and beat on low speed only enough to incorporate the ingredients after each addition.
Scrape the batter into the paper liners, and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on rack.
note: you can also make the cake in a 6-cup decorative tube pan, or a 9-inch springform pan, wrapped with aluminium foil. Just bake it for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.