Yesterday the Pie turned 31, which he wasn’t really looking forward to, because now for the rest of the year he can’t tell everyone who will listen that I’m older than he is (BY FOUR MEASLY MONTHS). Honestly, the next time someone calls me a “cradle robber” I’m going to punch him or her in the ear. With my ring hand.
I was originally just going to make him a wee cake (because it’s just the two of us and we’re moving shortly) but then Fussellette, who will use any excuse to have a barbecue, made an occasion of the thing and so a bunch of us went downstairs and ate grilled food and drank beverages and had cake — so obviously I had to make a slightly bigger cake.
The Pie loves all things vanilla, so I decided on a sour cream pound cake, a traditional dish I hadn’t tried before. I’m used to the regular ol’ normal pound cake. Now, this recipe will yield two loaf pans’ worth of pound cake, or one ~10″ Bundt or tube pan worth. I’m going with the loaf pan, so I can freeze the other half of this cake for when we celebrate with my parents in a few weeks (also, I packed my Bundt pans). As always when making cakes, it’s a good idea to butter your pans and line them with parchment paper (if possible) to ensure that you don’t get anything stuck. With a Bundt or tube pan it’s good practice to butter the thing and then dust it with flour. Also, for a nice fluffy cake, allow all your ingredients to come to room temperature before you make this sucker.
So. Butter and paper and butter your pans and preheat your oven to 325°F.
Sift together 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with 3 cups cake and pastry flour (which I didn’t have, so I substituted 2 tablespoons flour in each cup with 2 tablespoons corn starch).
And actually I didn’t sift this, either, because I packed my sifter. Anyway, set that aside for now.
Using an electric mixer (or very powerful and fast-moving arms), beat 1 cup butter together with 2 cups granulated sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
Add 6 eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture, beating until each one is combined, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
Now, tip in half your flour mixture and stir that until combined.
Then dump in 1 cup (full fat) sour cream and stir that in, too.
And now the rest of your flour. Combine that carefully.
Try not to flick batter everywhere. Evidently, I failed.
Spoon this very thick batter into your pan and smooth the top. You’re going to want to bake this for at least an hour, probably more if you’ve done it in one pan. Go for 60 minutes at first, and then check it every 5 minutes after that until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
When the cake is done, let it cool completely on a wire rack before tipping it out of the pan. Tipping out a hot cake is a good way to get yourself a broken cake.
So there’s your cake. If you wish, you can leave it at that. But this is a birthday cake! I took one of them and wrapped it up for freezing.
So we’re going to make some icing. Our standard cream cheese frosting is a perennial favourite, and it’s very simple.
Beat together 1 cup butter with 1 250g (8oz) package plain cream cheese (room temperature) until fully combined.
Beat in as well 1 tablespoon vanilla (or any other flavouring you wish). Then carefully stir in at least 2 cups icing sugar (you will probably want a bit more to get the consistency you like).
Then I sliced the cake in half horizontally.
I filled the gap with a raspberry jam.
If you’ve never heard of Nerds, they’re basically small crystals of sugar coated with a sour neon candy crust. They come in wee rectangular boxes and are a childhood favourite of pretty much everyone in my generation, because you used to be able to buy two boxes for fifty cents at the corner store.
Fortunately for us, in the Super Size Me generation, you can now buy Nerds in giant boxes. I wasn’t sure how many Nerds I would need for this, so I bought two boxes. I can always rot my teeth on the other box if it isn’t needed.
So. Spread your Nerds out in a flat rimmed dish (like a baking sheet or a dinner plate) with enough room to lay your whole cake.
Pick your cake up and hold it by the bottom and the top (the unfrosted ends) and, working one side at a time, press the sides into the Nerds to make them stick to the frosting.
Set the cake back down and frost the top, being careful not to disturb the sides. Now I should have refrigerated my cake between frosting it and nerdifying it, so that’s why it’s all squishy and demented. Make sure you do that. Also, I discovered that my wee hands were no match for the size of this cake, so that may have added to the dementedness.
Sprinkle the top with Nerds until it’s evenly coated. Press them down a bit to make sure they stick.
Chill the cake until serving. Even slightly demented, it was still mighty tasty!