My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Marble Crunch Pound Cake

"I ate a pound cake today, but I gained two."
~Jarod Kintz

So what do you do when your favorite breakfast joint (where you also happen to work) is out of the muffin you're craving?  If you are crazy, like me, you go home and embark on a creation journey that takes you down a rabbit trail of recipes and morphs into a wild desire to create the perfect marble crunch pound cake.  After four attempts (two large loaf-cakes each), 2 pounds of butter and 2 dozen eggs later you have a freezer full of individually wrapped thick slices of pretty good pound cake, a trash bin with two loaves (forgot salt-bleh) and FINALLY, craving averted, challenge met... a flavor and texture combo that was just what you were shooting for.
This was the winner!
For the first attempt, I tried a sour cream batter, but got called to work in the middle of batter making.  Luckily,  my son Keith was home fixing his car, so I employed him to remove cake from oven etc, but had to estimate times.  That one became a bit overdone and I was disappointed with the crumb (more like coffee-cake than pound cake).  Keith loved it though, and ate every bit of a loaf and 4 Texas-sized muffins (not all in one sitting).  
This is what happen when you leave your cake in the oven and go to work  -  OVERDONE!
The second attempt was using Chef Scott Peacock's recipe, but adding almond extract, and the chocolate and crumb topping elements, plus the baking soda, as I did not trust it to rise without it.
This one came out really good,  although I was a tiny bit disappointed that it did not mound up in the pan while it baked.
For the third try, I followed the Chef's recipe to the tee (except for chocolate elements), including no baking soda and instead of melting chocolate, I used Dutch process cocoa in the batter, as in Martha Stewart's recipe.  As soon as I put these in the oven, I realized I forgot to add salt to the batter :-/ doh!  The crumb was ok, it rose a little and was slightly mounded, but it was really dense and I preferred the crumb of the previous try.  Was not happy with the taste without salt, and tossed it in the bin.  I may have cursed.
No baking soda method and Dutch process cocoa.  Nope.
Fourth try was very much like the second, but I lightened up on the chocolate, both in the batter and the topping.  Although it tasted great, I preferred the darker look and taste of #2.  We have a winner, folks!
A little lighter.  Delicious,  but I like the look of  #2 better.
Marble Crunch Pound Cake
Adapted from an American Classics Pound Cake recipe by Chef Scott Peacock, published in Better Homes and Gardens May, 2009.

Crumb Topping:
3 ½ tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ cup flour
3 teaspoons cocoa powder

Pound Cake:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 eggs
1 cup butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 ¾ cups sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups sifted cake flour

Set out butter, cream cheese and eggs for half an hour.  In the meantime, melt 3 ounces  unsweetened chocolate over a double boiler.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and flour  two loaf pans, approx. 9x5x3 inches.
Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl, and then smash together with your fingers until crumbs form.  Set aside.

Sift and measure flour into a medium bowl.  Stir in salt and baking soda.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter for two minutes.  Add cream cheese and cream for 2 more minutes. 
Continue beating and slowly add sugar, pouring in a constant stream.  This should take 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
Beat in almond extract.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg.   Add dry ingredients slowly while beating and using rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl until just combined.  Divide 1/2 of the white batter between the two prepared loaf pans.  Beat melted chocolate into remaining white batter to create the chocolate batter.
Spoon dollops of chocolate batter over white batter, dividing equally between the two loaf pans.  Rap pans on counter to remove air pockets.  Using a run a butter knife thru batter about 3 or 4 times in each direction to create the marble effect.

Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the top of the batter in each pan, dividing equally.
Place in center of preheated oven and bake for one hour without opening the oven door.
Test for doneness by inserting a cake tester into middle of cake.  If you remove it and it's clean, the cake is done.  If there is batter on it, continue to bake cake, testing at 10 minute intervals.
Remove cakes from oven and place on cooling racks.  Cool for ten minutes, then carefully remove from pans.  Serve warm or  cold.  Freezes well.


Hovkonditorn said...

Your cake is beautiful!

Camilla ~ Caffay Way said...

Your cake is beautiful, and I love how you kept baking until you felt satisfied :)

Mary said...

You are nothing if not determined :-). I'm glad you found your winner. You deserve at least an over-size slice for your efforts. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Rachael said...

I love it when, through trial and error, a recipe finally comes together like this (I also love when someone else has done all the hard work and I can just skip to the definitive version ;-)). This looks delicious!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Hovkonditorn: Thank you!

@Camilla: Thanks, a little nuts, but I like to keep going until I get something right!

@Mary: I'm eyeing a slice right now to go with my coffee. Thanks, Mary :-)

@Rachael: Thank you! Since I am one to tweak recipes, I figured I'd include the results of all my efforts and save someone the trouble!

Jen @ Juanita's Cocina said...

I LOVE a determined foodie!


Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Haha, thanks!

Tina Bk said...

Kudos to you to keep trying, this cake does look amazing. I love chocolate marble cakes and have never made a pound cake in this style before. Well done!

Kathy said...

I envy your determination!! Lucky to have a teenager in the house to help eat it! Glad you found a winner…they all look lovely!

Di said...

Mmm, that looks yummy! I'm also sitting here laughing at myself, because when I first read the title, I thought it said Maple Crunch, rather than Marble Crunch, and then couldn't find the maple in the recipe... =)

Kristina said...

hahaha I love that first quote, your pound cake looks dangerously good! I've never thought to have a crunchy top, it sounds amazing with the moist cake :) Yum yum yum!

Jay said...

wow..sounds scrumptiously tasty
new to your space..
excellent space you have
happy following you..:)
do stop by mine sometime
Tasty Appetite

Jay said...

wow..looks & sounds delicious...great idea..!
Tasty Appetite

Kimby said...

A slice of this pound cake following one of your pull-apart pork sandwiches with slaw, and I could swear I died and went to Southern heaven ... with an Irish influence! Great pound cake "research" (thank you for that) -- sorry to hear bout the ones that ended up in the bin, but sometimes there is no salvaging, eh? Sounded like this one was IT! Yum...

Arch said...

Hey have a award for you plz accept it :)