Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sour Cream Cake with Ginger-Lime Glaze

Sour Cream Butter Cake
from The Everything Vegetarian Cookbook

Back in high school, somewhere during my super health-conscious phase, I went on a 4-month stint of vegetarianism. One night, at the end of a casual home dinner of baked chicken and vegetables, I spent too long staring at the empty carcass, and made too many personal associations with my own flesh and bones to continue eating animal flesh. It was all vim and vigor, with a pledge to do it for health reasons, and learn of slaughterhouse practices, and the amount of corn in our beef and poultry. That would mean I had to eat spinach and other green vegetables for iron, and eat the elusive garbanzo bean as a staple. At that point I could count the number of times I had eaten hummus on one hand.

So my Mom gave me The Everything Vegetarian Cookbook, and I must confess, after only sampling a recipe for salad, it has sat on the shelf all these years. It has a very friendly layout, like the Moosewood Cookbooks, with some health and cooking tips along the way.
But I was in the mood to bake a cake, and wasn't feeling fancy enough to do a Meringue pie, but wanted to make a cake other than my go-to dark chocolate and orange. I also wanted an excuse to have a tub of sour cream in my fridge.

4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 c sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan, dust it with flour, and line the bottom with waxed paper. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks, ¼ of the sour cream, and the vanilla. In a large, separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk vigorously to combine.

Add the butter and remaining sour cream to the flour mixture, and mix well until flour is completely moistened. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture in 3 separate additions, mixing between each addition. Pour into prepared cake pan.

Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, usually about 35 to 40 minutes. Start checking at 25 minutes, since oven temperatures and ingredient characteristics vary, and it might be done quicker. Cool 10 minutes, then take out of pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

To frost, cut laterally in half and frost both sections, then stack smooth sides, and refrigerate to set.
Unfortunately I had to break the rules on this one. First of all, I used an 8-inch souffle dish because I took one look at my grody old cake pans and said "No cake deserves this pan." Secondly,as I am only now aware, I used 2 oz too much butter, (so a full 2 sticks instead of 1 1/2). I guess I was too happy to throw two sticks of butter into the bowl. The consistency of the batter looked more like a bread dough, and didn't taste very much like sour cream.
I increased the baking time by 20 minutes on top of the 35. Because the increased height of the souffle dish, and the amount of butter, my test knife wasn't coming out clean.

Despite the slightly crumbly crust, I was quite pleased. Now I have a pseud0-recipe for a good breakfast cake.

Jay Weinstein suggests serving it with homemade Butter-Cream Frosting, but I couldn't go that far. And since what I ended up making was more the consistency of pound cake, the glaze was the way to go.

Ginger-Lime Glaze
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
6 tbsp lime juice
6 tbsp water
1 1/4 c powdered sugar
To cut the pungency of the ginger, I decided to let it cook on low heat in 2 tbsp of lime juice and 2 tbsp water for about 15 minutes, stirring as I went until it reduced. Pour glaze evenly over top of the cake, and spread with a knife or spatula and allow to set. Slice and serve with a dollop of sour cream.


Birthday cake: always delicious, especially after spicy Thai Food.


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