Pound cakes are usually pretty dense, but for some reason, the orange pound cake I made two weeks ago was very airy, almost angel food cake consistency. After a quick search (you can find anything on the Internet), I concluded that perhaps I beat the mixture for too long -- I followed the directions because we all know what happens when I don’t follow directions. Anyway, I used a pound cake mix (gasp), doctored up…perhaps the added ingredients were the culprits So I decided to try again. Foodie suggested that cardamom is lovely in a pound cake, so I searched for a cardamom pound cake recipe and found one on Epicurious.com.
The recipe calls for vanilla beans and I was expecting seeds inside the beans – I never used fresh vanilla beans before, only pure extract – but what you really scrape into the batter is more like coffee grounds and for $14 for two vanilla beans, I made sure to scrape every single morsel out of those beans! As you will read, I was directed to “reserve the pods for another use” and I dutifully simmered one in my coffee this morning (don’t want the recipe po-po after me). Very tasty indeed...just a hint of vanilla.
Cardamom Vanilla Pound Cake
“This pound cake not only keeps well but also intensifies in flavor over the first day or so. It's delicious toasted or served with ice cream.”
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess. I used my lovely Nordic Ware Fleur de lis bundt cake pan.
Mix together flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together butter and granulated sugar in mixer at medium speed, scraping side of bowl occasionally, until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla beans with tip of a paring knife into butter mixture, reserving pods for another use, and beat until combined well, about 1 minute.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in lemon juice until combined well. At low speed, add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top. Gently rap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan 1 hour, then invert onto a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour more.
I made this beautiful pound cake for a committee gathering at my house this evening so I will post an update after taste-tested!