Late nights and food processor poundcake
Fistfuls of chocolate-covered almonds and late day caffeinated beverages conspired to keep me up way past bedtime Saturday night. I spent the evening with my good friends Rob and Kirstin, dining outdoors in their lovely backyard, dogs underfoot, followed by a (sloppy) game of darts. Rob won. When I returned home it was time to wind down, but I was far too jacked up by artificial stimulants to sleep. What to do close to midnight when sleeping is impossible? I broke out the food processor and started a baking project I'd put off for a over a week.
My friend CB emailed me in late August with a request. Attached was a link to Mark Bittman's New York Times piece "Sneaking a Poundcake Out of the Food Processor," which she wanted me to try. Is it really possible to make a decent cake batter in the food processor? I was curious, especially since I'd made a version of that very recipe (it was adapted from Flo Braker's The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, a wonderful book I've used for years) using a stand mixer. The primary difference between the newspaper version and the original (aside from technique): the Grandaisy Bakery poundcake is soaked in a citrus syrup after baking, intensifying flavor as well as the moisture level. This is a moist cake anyway, due to the almond paste in the mix. Using the food processor was quick, easy, the resulting cake wasn't tough, as I'd worried — try it yourself and see.
Adapted from The New York Times and Grandaisy Bakery
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
flour for pan
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
7 ounces almond paste
7 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Thoroughly butter and flour an 8-cup Bundt pan, making sure to cover all nooks and crannies.
Put the lemon and orange juice in a small heavy saucepan with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the almond paste and 2 cups of sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until completely combined. Add cold, cubed butter and process until light. Add the eggs individually with the machine running; add the zests and vanilla and process until smooth.
Stop the machine and add the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse a few times, being careful not to over process, which will result in a tough cake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until golden. The cake is done when a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan, on a rack, for about 15-20 minutes, then pour the citrus soak over it. Let it stand for 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the pan and slice.