Bay leaf orange pound cake
Ever since I saw this recipe published in 101 cookbooks, one of the best cooking blogs out there, I have been wanting to make this pound cake. Heidi’s pictures just make you want to get your fanciest cake tin out of the cupboard and get baking.
The fact that the recipe is originally from David Lebovitz, a baking guru is another guarantee, in case you needed it, but the most exciting thing is the fact that bay leaf is being used in a cake. Not in lentils, not in beans, in a cake. You are supposed to let the bay leaf infuse the surprisingly little quantity of butter this cake requires to ensure that it will permeate all the cake. In my case the flavor was subtle because I didn’t have the required 10 bay leaves so I have the excuse to do it all over again. What I did do is add some sliced kumquats to the surface of the batter (which was to be the bottom of the cake once baked), and it gave the whole thing the touch of moisture and orange it needed.
• 85 g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon butter, for piping
• 10 fresh or dried bay leaves
• 230g all-purpose flour
• 200 g granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
• 3 large eggs, at room temperature
• 125 g sour cream
• finely grated zest of one orange
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 140 g powdered sugar
• 2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1. Melt 85g of butter in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add 3 of the bay leaves. Let steep for 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan (or equivalent). Dust with flour and tap out any excess. If possible, line the bottom with parchment paper (if the shape of your pan makes it impossible to line with parchment, skip the paper). If you have a flat-bottomed pan, dab one side of the remaining 7 bay leaves with a little bit of butter and place the leaves, evenly spaced, on the bottom of the prepared pan, buttered side down. Alternately, if your pan doesn't have a flat bottom, you can wait, and place the remaining bay leaves atop the batter just before placing in the oven (as shown above).
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, orange zest, and vanilla until combined. If needed, barely rewarm the butter to liquify it and pluck out the bay leaves. Whisk the butter into the egg mixture.
4. With a spatula, gently stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture, just until the batter is smooth. Do not over mix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, being careful not to disturb the leaves (alternately, top the cake with any remaining leaves). Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of softened butter into a plastic bag, snip off a corner, then draw a straight line of the butter down the center of the cake (alternately, a circle if your pan is round). Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. It's better to slightly under bake, than over bake this cake.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake and then tip out onto a cooling rack, remove leaves, and let cool completely before glazing.
6. To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and orange juice. Stir until smooth, then spread the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides and harden.
Recipe from 101 Cookbooks