My name is Erin Brown and I am a passionate and energetic baker, wife, mother and proprietor of Dolce Bakery in Prairie Village.
For something like four years, my business coach has been trying to wrangle my wild and creative self and get me to use a calendar. I’ve sort of started and stopped a few times, but finally, I made a decision to stick with it.
My days mostly involve things like: training at the gym, meeting with clients, planning with my management team, talking menu/recipe development, tasting the new batch of bourbon caramel at the bakery, collaborating with other entrepreneurs, helping my little one with homework, making dinner, reading one of the three or four books on my nightstand, and whatever else wants to happen.
I love it all! Because I love it all, I had to get my life onto a colorful Google calendar so it can all really happen. The first few weeks of calendaring were a little rough, and I couldn’t find a space for lots of stuff that I thought I wanted/needed to do.
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But I stuck with it. And you know what? I have time. One of my favorite things that made its way to the schedule is time to bake.
Baking at home by myself, for myself, is one of my happiest places. I look forward to sharing some of my old favorite recipes and some of the new projects I am working on. (My family is pretty excited for the extra home baking that is happening, too.)
This pound cake will make you a hero. It is delicate, buttery and very versatile. It is important that you follow the instructions as closely as possible and cream the butter and sugars well. Room temperature ingredients are a must.
Serve thick slices of this pound cake topped with rhubarb curd, freshly whipped cream and a few scattered raspberries for a fabulous spring dessert.
To deepen the flavor, I like to use some brown sugar in place of part of the granulated sugar. You could add ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg — or whatever spices you love — to perfume this cake. If you spice it up, skip the almond and lemon extracts.
3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sift first, then measure by spoon and sweep)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sour cream (full fat please)
Heat your oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees if your pan is dark) and place a rack in the bottom third of your oven. (Tube pans are pretty tall, so make sure you have plenty of space above where your cake will be baking).
Sift the flour (yes, this is the second time you’ll sift it), sea salt and baking soda together into a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light in color — about 45 seconds. Carefully, while mixer is running, add in the sugars. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Be sure you get to that little pocket in the bottom of the bowl. Continue to mix on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes — until thoroughly creamed and light in color. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add in eggs one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Once all eggs have been added, beat for another minute or so, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Add vanilla and extracts or spices if you are adding them.
Turn mixer off. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream. Scrape down bowl and mix for just another couple seconds to be sure everything is combined. Do not over mix.
Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Spread batter evenly into the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. I suggest starting with 1 hour and 15-20 minutes, but mine took about 1 hour and 25 minutes today.
Place the cake on a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan. Allow cake to cool completely before cutting.
12 ounces rhubarb, washed and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 tablespoons water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
Scant 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
In a small saucepan, cook rhubarb, water and 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat until there are no whole pieces of rhubarb left.
Use a blender to puree the mixture.
Add a couple of inches of water to the pot of a double boiler and set over medium heat.
Put egg yolks, butter, remaining sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of the double boiler and whisk to combine.
When sugar has dissolved completely, add the rhubarb puree by the spoonful, to temper the eggs.
When all rhubarb has been added, set bowl over pot; the water should be simmering. Continue stirring the rhubarb mixture. After about 5 minutes, the mixture will be warm and slightly thickened.
Remove from heat. Press through a strainer — this will give your curd that smooth texture. Refrigerate curd.
Source: Adapted from Food52.
Erin Brown is a passionate and energetic wife, mother, pastry chef and proprietor of Dolce Bakery in Prairie Village.