Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pound Cake with the Cake Slice Bakers

A few years ago I baked cakes with a wonderful group of bakers called the Cake Slice Bakers. Life got busy, so I dropped out after a while, but was invited recently to bake with them again. Life is still busy, but since the chosen book is the Southern Cake Book by the Southern Living magazine, how could I resist? Pecans, bourbon, lots of butter, as well as cream cheese, sweet potatoes and red velvet cake are well represented in the book. I'm going to attempt to do a linky link so that you can also visit the other Cake Slice Bakers and see which recipe they chose and how it went. Will be back about the same time next month with another delicious cake.

This is the first post using that book and we had a number of choices. I chose to bake the  Orange Pecan Spice Pound Cake recipe. I have lots of pecans on hand for Thanksgiving pies, had a few oranges in a bowl and my cupboard has lots of spices in it. I decided to only make half the recipe and to bake it in a loaf pan instead of a tube pan, but otherwise I followed the recipe as written for ingredients...strange for me, but part of the deal. I did change the method just a bit. I rubbed the orange zest into the sugar a la Dorie Greenspan, mixed the orange and lemon extracts into the milk and the spices into the flour. That way I was less likely to forget to add an important ingredient at the end.

This has been an absurdly busy week due to a lot of baking for my scholarship group and also due to helping a friend who is struggling with an illness. With the overload I can just imagine leaving out the sugar or something unfortunate like that!

This is a delicious cake with the typical density of pound cake. It smelled heavenly while baking, both from the nuts and spices and from the heady scent of orange. I love the texture that the chopped pecans give to the crust and was happy that the spices are more hints than hits. This is not a terribly sweet cake if you skip the Orange Syrup like I did, which is great. It is nice and moist and folks went back for seconds last night. We had it with a little good bourbon on the side to keep in the Southern spirit of things.

Orange-Pecan-Spice Pound Cake
adapted from the Southern Cake Book by the Southern Living magazine

1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Take about 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans and sprinkle them over the sides and bottom of a loaf pan that has been generously buttered. Evenly coat the bottom and sides by shaking the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and the orange zest. Use fingers of your clean hands to rub the zest into the sugar.

Beat 1 cup butter until creamy. Gradually add the orange sugar. Beat well to add air. Add the three eggs, one at a time. Scrape bowl sides and beaters often to keep the mixture from clumping. Blend well.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg (freshly ground is wonderful!), and ground cloves. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the milk with the vanilla, orange and lemon extracts.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until well blended after each addition, keeping speed at low.

Stir in remaining pecans, mix well and spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 1 hour. Long wooden pick inserted in center should come out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes slide a knife around the sides of the pan and turn the cake out onto a wire rack, bottom side up. Let cake cool completely before serving - about an hour.

The original recipe called for an Orange Syrup to be brushed over the cake, but I skipped that part...too sweet.


  1. Elle...this cake looks incredible! Your kitchen must have smelled amazing. I, too, took a brake from the Cake Slice ( and blogging in general). But I'm glad to be back baking with this great group. The book definitely looks promising! Already looking forward to next month! : )

  2. Welcome back Elle! It's so good to have you baking with our little group again! I loved this cake, and am so glad other folk have enjoyed it too! It's a great start to our new year! Hazel x

  3. Elle, m'dear, I am WITH YOU on the stress - between coordinating the Thnxgvng program at church PLUS having guests, PLUS my sister showing signs of kidney transplant rejection, PLUS my dad going in for a second biopsy for cancer - PLUS my revision notes arriving late from my editor, I burned almost the entire dinner last night, and the soup tasted really weird. However, the tablecloth I was dyeing turned out so beautifully I just know I missed a step - I can only hope it doesn't rub off on the guests hands as they sit at table!!!

    This looks so amazing, and I *want* to do it, but I think I may make zucchini bread or praline some walnuts and call it a day - the potential feels rather high for setting the kitchen on fire.

  4. Welcome back Elle! Our group is more organized and our bakers more dedicated! And with the linky tool all that participated in the month are easy to view! Before we had this tool it was a headache trying to figure out who baked and who didn't!
    I'm glad your cake was a success! Good to have you back!

  5. I say we should enjoy this cake with coffee in the morning and then again with wine in the evening and toast more restful holidays and days ahead ... if only that were possible.
    I'd love a piece of this ... especially with you.

  6. Anne & Hazel, so fun to back with the CSBs. Such a fun, active group and great cakes, too.
    Tanita, wow, my stress is not nearly the level or yours. Don't worry about the it's beautiful and everything served on it will taste the better for the beauty. Wishing all your family, especially YOU, a healthier holiday season and New Year. We both have to chill, right? Maybe some wine and cake with Tanna? We could meet and should, in the New Year if not sooner. I would love to see you!
    Tanna, I really wish you could come sit by the fire, sip some wine, eat some cake with me and we could talk and talk. We could invite Tanita. She is awesome, too. Let me know when, I'll bake more cake :)

  7. Great minds think alike in dividing the recipe in half, your cake looks fabulous Elle, it would go wonderfully with the mug of tea I am currently drinking. Welcome back to the Cake Slice Bakers!

  8. Hi Elle, this cake looks and sounds delicious. I was tempted to bake this recipe, but since I've never baked a pound cake before, I though my first should be my grandmother's brandy cake! So glad to hear you're back baking again. I hope you had a fun time :)

  9. Glad to have you back! I'm with you on the "little bourbon on the side" way to ease the holiday stress!!!

  10. Looks like this one would be great for gift giving.

  11. This is one amazing looking cake!!! <3

  12. So good to have you back baking with us! Like your shortcuts for the various ingredients, will remember them. I did thought of adding the spices to the flour though! Your cake looks delish!

  13. Welcome back to the group! Thank you so much for sharing your baking method. There've been times when I left out an ingredient and this makes perfect since.
    I love seeing this cake in loaf form, great choice.