Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Neapolitan Pound Cake

A couple of months ago I copied this recipe for Sour Cream Pound Cake off the internet. I adore southern cooking and southern tradition and this recipe and accompanying story seemed rife with it. I stashed the hand written copy I'd made into my "to make" binder and waited for the opportune moment. Then months later, I stumbled across a picture on Pinterest and followed the link to Neapolitan Pound Cake. Hmmm. . .the gears started cranking. And soon enough, my mind was filled with visions of strawberry pink, vanilla and chocolate brown pound cake. 

I linked on over to the recipe from Pinterest but it had all kinds of ingredients that I'd have to go and buy (cake flour, mascarpone cheese, etc., etc.). Blech, too complicated. But the sour cream pound cake was simple. With just a few tweaks here and there, I could draw inspiration from both recipes and create one all my own. Or kinda. . .sorta. . .seriously, I'm not quite sure when I stops being "their" recipe and becomes "mine". So I'm linking over to all the recipes, trying, in good faith, to give credit where credit is due and keep my fingers crossed that no one sues me. Anywho. . .see how it turned out:

The usual pound cake suspects: butter (at room temperature), sugar, eggs, baking soda, sour cream, AP flour and vanilla. And some newcomers: cocoa, strawberry jam (A good quality one with bits and chunks of strawberry.) and vanilla bean paste (if you can find it.) You also may want a dab of red or pink food color.

Cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Then beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Stir the baking soda into the sour cream.

Add the sour cream mixture, alternately with the flour, into the butter/egg mixture combining well after each addition.

Begin and end with the flour: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sour cream and then the last 1 cup of flour. Stir in the 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Divide the batter equally into three bowls.

To one, add the cocoa powder.

To another add the strawberry jam and a touch of pink or red food color if you think it needs a bit more "strawberry" color. I did, so I used a dab of red gel color.

To the last 1/3 of batter add the additional 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste. I like the paste because it adds those cool flecks of vanilla bean. Don't fret of you don't have it, vanilla extract will work just fine.

Drop blobs of batter by the spoonful into two greased and floured loaf pans, alternating the three different flavors. Alternately you could use a single tube/Bundt pan, baking time would be the same.

If you want a bit more marbled effect, drag a knife through the batter making loops and swirls. Be careful not to mix the flavors together too much. Then gently smooth the top.

OK, here's where things get a bit different. Put the pans in a cold oven, no preheating. Set the temperature to 300°F and bake for one hour. Then turn the oven up to 325°F and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan. Then loosen the edges with a knife, remove from the pans and let cool completely on a rack.

This got thumbs up from the whole family and my coworkers. It's moist and dense and buttery but not too sweet.  The three flavors are distinct but complimentary. Heck, even without the chocolate and strawberry this would be a great pound cake. I'm already dreaming up more variations: Lemon with blueberries, Spumoni (cherry, pistachio and chocolate.), almond. Oh the possibilities!

Neapolitan Pound Cake
Adapted from http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2013/03/19/sour-cream-pound-cake-a-simple-sweet-tradition/
Yield: 2 Loaves, approx. 4 in. x 8 in. or one Bundt cake

2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2-2/3 C. sugar
6 eggs
1/4 t. baking soda
1 C. (8 oz.) sour cream
3 C. all purpose flour
1 t. vanilla
3 T. unsweetened cocoa
6 T. strawberry jam
1-2 drops red or pink food coloring (optional)
1/2 t. vanilla paste or vanilla extract

DO NOT preheat oven. Grease and flour two loaf pans or one tube (Bundt) pan.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, stir together sour cream and baking soda. Add flour and sour cream alternately to butter mixture beginning and ending with flour.(1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 cup flour) Stir in vanilla. Divide batter equally into 3 separate bowls. Stir cocoa powder into one portion. Stir in strawberry jam and food color if desired into another portion. Add an additional 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste to the last portion. Drop spoonfuls of batter randomly into pans alternating batter flavors. Filling each pan equally. Swirl slightly with a knife if you want more marbling. Lightly smooth top of batter being carful not to mix the colors together too much.

Set pans into a cold oven and set temperature to 300°F. Bake for 1 hour. Turn oven up to 325°F and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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