Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fine Cooking: Buttermilk Pound Cake Soaked with Grand Marnier Syrup

My boss at work is kind enough to buy birthday cakes for each of us in our turn, so when it was hers, we were a little stumped.  We knew she liked angel food cake, but honestly, I don't know anyone else who does.  And before I get angel food cake hate mail, we're talking PLAIN.  As in no berries, no cream, no ice cream, no chocolate sauce, no nothing.  So I wanted to hear other options.

Her favorite cake of all time was something her mother made for her as a child.  I got the recipe from her daughter through about five other people and over text message. I just kind of stared at it, trying to decide what I thought.  The instructions amounted to "dump everything together and bake."  And once again, it sounded plain, plain, plain.  So I Googled.  Apparently it was originally a buttermilk pound cake, but at some point someone thought it would be fun to replace the butter with...shortening.  And the flavor with...nothing.  A bunch of research later, I found something similar from Fine Cooking and got a cake that was somewhat tasty.

Buttermilk Pound Cake Soaked with Grand Marnier Syrup
Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, April/May 2001

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from 2 oranges
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Grand Marnier Syrup

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Butter and flour a large Bundt or tube pan.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light in color.  Add the vanilla extract and orange zest and mix well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the dry ingredients in three portions, alternating with the buttermilk.  Pour into the Bundt pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then invert the cake and remove the pan.  Brush the cake with Grand Marnier Syrup, allowing it to soak in slowly.

Makes 16 servings

Grand Marnier Syrup
Juice of 2 oranges (about 1 cup)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liquor)

Combine juice, sugar, and liquor in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce until it reaches the consistency of a syrup.

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