Cooking 101

Rosemary and cherry-caramel make for a trendy pound cake

Rosemary-Infused Pound Cake can be served with its Cherry-Caramel Sauce on the side or pour over the top.
Rosemary-Infused Pound Cake can be served with its Cherry-Caramel Sauce on the side or pour over the top. Johnson County Community College; food styling by Kaarin Nelson

Katherine Copley creates all kinds of desserts and enjoys trying new ones. When she heard that rosemary was popular in New York and California, she decided to make a pound cake infused with rosemary and top it off with a cherry-caramel glaze.

“I really like making desserts a lot, and I wanted to make something that was different but still simple,” says the 18-year-old student at Johnson County Community College.

The cherries worked well, she says, but blueberries, strawberries or raspberries could easily stand in as substitutes.

The trickiest part of her recipe is making the cherry-caramel glaze.

“It is very important to not stir until the caramel is done,” Copley says. “Let the sugar boil until it reaches a dark amber color. This will take about 20 minutes, but watch it carefully, as caramel can burn easily.”

Ovens vary in temperature, Copley says, so the baking time might vary some from the recommended hour. You’ll know when the cake is done when the edges start pulling away from the pan, or when you stick a toothpick in the cake and it comes out clean.

About the chef: Katherine Copley, 18, of Olathe, is a third-semester student who plans to focus on food studies. She is a full-time pastry chef at Pig & Finch in Leawood.

About the food stylist: Kaarin Nelson is a fourth-semester interior design student at JCCC.

About the column: Cooking 101 is an occasional column exclusive to The Star designed to introduce home cooks to basic cooking techniques. The column is a joint project between culinary students and instructors at Johnson County Community College’s Hospitality and Management Program.

Rosemary-Infused Pound Cake With Cherry-Caramel Sauce

Makes 12 servings

For the pound cake:

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

3/4 cup milk

1 pound unsalted butter, softened

3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

6 large eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

For the cherry-caramel glaze:

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup cherries, thawed or fresh, half pureed and half chopped, divided

1 1/2 cup cherries or a combination of raspberries and blueberries, thawed or fresh, for garnish

To prepare the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a tube pan.

Rinse the rosemary in cold water. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until just simmering. Turn off the heat, add the rosemary and steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the sprigs of rosemary. Set aside the milk.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy.

Gradually add the eggs one at a time to the butter, making sure to mix well after each incorporation. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

With a mixer on low speed, add the flour and steeped milk, alternating with a third of the flour, then a third of the milk. Mix just until everything is incorporated, but do not overmix.

Pour batter into prepared tube pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges of the cake pull away slightly. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate.

For the glaze: Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Stir just until the sugar is completely immersed in water.

Turn on high heat. It is very important to not stir until the caramel is done. Let the sugar boil until it reaches a dark amber color. This will take about 20 minutes, but watch it carefully as caramel can burn easily.

Once it reaches dark amber, add in the butter, cream, salt and pureed cherries. Be careful, because the caramel may splatter when they are added. The caramel may seem like it is solidifying, but just keep stirring for 2 to 3 minutes with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until it becomes smooth.

Bring the caramel back to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the chopped cherries and cool the caramel for 20 minutes.

Pour over the cake or dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve glaze on the side. Garnish with remaining cherries.

Per serving, with cherry-caramel glaze: 945 calories (46 percent from fat), 49 grams total fat (30 grams saturated), 240 milligrams cholesterol, 121 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 409 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

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