chia honey lemon pound cake

chia seed lemon honey pound cake


Of all the cakes I love to bake, I love pound cakes the most. This is why:
  • They are generally fuss-free or "fussy-less".
  • They provide a great way to clean up the pantry and the little ingredients I've collected but haven't used.(also a good excuse to make one)
  • The loaf shape makes it acceptable for me to eat them at breakfast, lunch, tea and post dinner. They are also acceptable at snack time.
  • And above all, I love it's sheer elegance that comes from its simplicity of flavors.

lemons

Just like my love for making my kitchen smell of cocoa and vanilla, I love, love the smell of fresh citrus fruits especially when I cut or squeeze them. The aromatic oils from the skin and the fresh juices are energizing and refreshing and definitely lift up my moods. It's one of my most favorite moments in the kitchen and seriously, it can't get any better than the zest of six lemons. 

lemon squeeze

I stayed away from a traditional sweet lemon sugar glaze on the loaf because the honey gives the cake a delicious color and flavor as it caramelizes on the crust. I also added in some chia seeds to give the cake a texture and believe me, you won't be disappointed. Plus, there's a hint of spices in this pound cake courtesy the magic Asian 5-spice mix that takes this lemon cake to a whole new level. I really wanted to call my cake, "5 Spice Chia Honey Lemon Pound Cake" but that just seemed too long, so I cut it short. If you can't find 5-spice, you can leave it out completely and the cake will still be delicious.

chia lemon honey pound cake

This cake recipe went through a couple of trial and errors, till I had everything worked out. The first time I made this cake, I added way too much lemon juice and my cake didn't rise enough as the acid reacted with the baking powder and baking soda. I reduced the amount of lemon juice and increased the amount of lemon zest to keep the cake as lemony as possible. I would still recommend moving quickly as soon as you add the lemon juice to the batter as the chemical reaction between the acid and bicarbonate starts instantaneously. I adapted and modified the basic pound cake recipe from The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book.

Have a great weekend, folks!

Note: You generally don't need to grease and line a baking pan, you can do one of the two, I prefer to do both as they aid in easy removal and transferring of the cake.

chia lemon and honey pound cake

chia + honey lemon pound cake

yields: one 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf

ingredients

1 1/2 cups (7 7/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder mix (optional)
1 cup (7 3/8 ounce) sugar
zest of 6 lemons, fresh
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey (use a good quality)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm (not hot)
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease and flour an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, line the pan with parchment paper and keep aside. Whisk the dry ingredients from the flour to the 5-spice powder mix. Sift the ingredients three times and keep aside.
2. Place the sugar and the lemon zest in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Toss the sugar and the zest to coat the zest completely.
3. Add the eggs to the mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment whisk the eggs for 3 minutes on medium-high speed until completely blended. You might need to scrape the bowl down a few times with a silicone spatula to bring the ingredients together. Add the honey and mix on medium-high speed until completely blended for about 1 - 1 1/2 minute.
3. Stir the butter to mix up any solids that might have settled to the bottom. Pour the melted butter from the side of the bowl and continue to mix the ingredients on medium high speed. Add the lemon extract and vanilla.
4. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients from step 1 to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed until completely mixed. Add the chia seeds and the rest of the dry ingredients and mix till no specks of flour can be seen. Add the lemon juice and quickly mix the ingredients. Immediately pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes. Rotate the cake halfway through the baking process. The cake is baked when the center of the cake is firm to touch and a skewer/knife when inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest in the loaf pan for 5 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

coffee chocolate hazelnut pound cake

chocolate coffee hazelnut pound cake #food #foodphotography #foodstyling #cake #dessert #chocolate

Polar vortex and snow, that is what we came back to from warm and sunny, Charleston! In my opinion, snow has two sides to it a good side and a dark side, just like THE FORCE in Star Wars, seriously! Here, let me explain,

Positives

  • The landscape becomes one big white gigantic frosted cake. 
  • You get a day off from work, if the snowfall is crazy heavy. At least a "delayed arrival" if traveling is bad.
  • You can make flavored ices with fresh snow, though I don't recommend picking up snow from the side walk due to hygienic reasons. 
  • Most dogs love snow! Snoopy for one, loves to run and play in it and eat it. 

Negatives

  • I learned that suede/leather etc. get destroyed by the salt.
  • You tend to feel like your enacting a scene from Swan Lake due to a lack of form and balance and you fall on your back more often than necessary when things are slippery or if your dog is pulling you across the street to catch a squirrel. 
  • The day after a heavy snow day is like a hangover, everything on the roads is messy. 
  • Cleaning the salt out of the dog's paws and off the floor of your house.
chocolate coffee hazelnut pound cake #food #foodphotography #foodstyling #cake #dessert #chocolate
chocolate coffee hazelnut pound cake #food #foodphotography #foodstyling #cake #dessert #chocolate
Snoopy snow collage Jan 2014

To balance all the snow related events that happened this week, I baked a pound cake that was full of warm flavors. This simple cake has everything I've been craving for, especially on on a cold and wintry snow day. There's dark roast coffee that's interspersed with swirls of a sweet dark chocolate and hazelnut paste. This pound cake goes great with tea or coffee and at any time of the day. I adapted and modified the basic pound cake recipe from

The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book

. By the way, this is a fantastic cookbook and a big thank you to Sarah of

The Vanilla Bean Blog

for the great recommendation. (I do need to work on my swirling technique here in this cake).

Note: I prefer to use raw hazelnuts with their skins for a fresher taste. However, if you have skinned pre-toasted hazelnuts, by all means use them, just skip the toasting part in Step 1 below and proceed directly to the food processor stage to prepare the chocolate-hazelnut paste.

chocolate coffee hazelnut pound cake #food #foodphotography #foodstyling #cake #dessert #chocolate

pound cake with coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts

yields:

8 servings

ingredients

1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) raw hazelnuts with skin 

1 cup (6 3/4 ounces) semi sweet dark chocolate chips

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

3 large eggs + 3 large yolks, whisked lightly

1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) raw brown sugar

2 tablespoons instant coffee (the dark roast variety is good here)

1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) cake flour

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in an oven for 15 minutes or until the nuts begin to brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and immediately transfer the hot nuts into a clean kitchen towel. Massage the nuts while they are still in the cloth to peel the skin off the hazelnuts. You can remove the skin off the hazelnuts that did not fall off. Place the warm nuts and chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse till you get a smooth paste. The heat of the hazelnuts will melt the chocolate. Keep this aside. 

2. Grease and flour a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. 

3. In the mixing bowl of a food processor, add the butter and salt. Using the paddle attachment at medium high speed beat the butter and salt until soft and creamy. Reduce this speed to medium low and add the sugar in two additions. Once all the sugar is added, increase the speed to medium high and beat the ingredients for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. You might need to scrape the bowl down occasionally with a silicone/rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to medium and add the vanilla and the whisked eggs and yolks. Beat the ingredients for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. 

4. Sift the coffee and flour twice and then sift half of the dry ingredients over the butter-egg mixture. in the mixing bowl. Fold gently using a silicone/rubber spatula until combined. Sift the rest of the flour mix over the batter,  repeat the folding process and scrape along the bottom of the container. There should be no visible flecks of flour at this point. 

5. Pour half of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Add half of the chocolate-hazelnut paste prepared earlier. Then layer with the rest of the cake batter, followed by the rest of the chocolate-hazelnut spread. Take a skewer or knife and swirl it throughout the cake batter in the pan a couple of times to create a swirl/marble pattern. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake it on the middle rack for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted through the center of the cake. Note, the skewer will be gooey from the chocolate-hazelnut mixture but it should have cake crumbs if the cake is done. Rotate the cake half way through the baking process. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan and then run a knife through the edges of the cake. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool for about 1- 1 1/2 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

cardamom and saffron olive oil pound cake

Cardamom and Saffron Olive Oil Pound Cake

Happy belated Easter everyone and I hope y'all had a good long holiday weekend. Instead of hosting an  Easter Sunday brunch I chose to host a dinner for the premiere of the third season of my favorite book/tv show Game of Thrones. Needless to say, there was plenty of food to represent the seven kingdoms though I might have overestimated on the amount of food this time. Still, leftovers are great because you get a couple of days off from cooking during the week and I am using the extra time to catch up with reading or any other activity that has been in desperate need of my attention. 

Eggs

I baked an olive oil pound cake for the dinner along with a few other desserts. This is a very simple cake recipe, the cake crumb is moist while the texture is light and airy. That is exactly the way I like my slice of pound cake, of course with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Pound cakes are what I think of when people say a rustic everyday cake or dessert. Though they were originally invented to clean up the pantry (equal quantities of flour, eggs, and sugar; hence the name "pound") they have come a long way and have become a lot more interesting. 

Olive oil and Eggs

I find olive oil pound cakes to be a little more fascinating than the butter based versions because the oil affords a lot more flexibility if you want to get adventurous with flavors. It's a good and heavenly marriage of flavors! A little bit of an herb or a spice seasoning can go a long way with olive oil and this remains true for most olive oil based cakes. This cake also has a slight nutty flavor from ground almond meal and uses skim milk (you can go with whole milk, if you prefer) This version of the pound cake, also uses a sprinkling of freshly ground green cardamom pod seeds and a pinch of saffron strands. The light fragrance of the freshly ground cardamom brings a sweet flavor to the cake while the saffron brightens the color of the yolks in the cake. What could be more wonderful than something so simple and delicious for an everyday cake. Of course you can skip the cardamom and saffron and add your own flavors. Feel free to experiment with other combinations, I've made this cake before with sage/rosemary and crystallized ginger bits just like my cookies.

Cracked Egg and Pound Cake1
Cooling Pound Cake

cardamom and saffron olive oil pound cake

servings : 2 cake loaves, about 20 slices

ingredients

a little olive oil for greasing loaf pans
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom seeds
a pinch of saffron
5 cold large eggs
1 cup low-fat or skim milk
2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling on the surface of the cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two loaf pans with parchment paper and then grease with a little olive oil. 
2. Sift the flour, almond meal, and baking soda. Return any bits of almond meal that might remain in the sieve back to the flour mix. 
3. In a stand mixer, attach the paddle and beat the sugar, salt, olive oil, cardamom and saffron in the mixing bowl until smooth. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the entire batter becomes creamy and light yellow in color. 
4. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter and beat until completely blended. Pour in the milk and the rest of the flour mix and beat until completely blended. 
5. Pour and divide the batter into the two prepared loaf pans. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the centers are firm or until a bamboo skewer or knife comes out clean from the center. Sprinkle the extra sugar on the top surface of each cake and put the tins back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in their pans. Slide a knife around the edges of the cake to release it and transfer it to a wire rack to cool. Slice the cakes with a sharp serrated knife at room temperature.