This is definitely an egg-before-chicken recipe, but sometimes those are the most fun. I made too much glaze for my Pfeffernusse the other day (recipe here), and it was too good to just throw away, so I decided to dream up another vehicle for its sticky yummy-ness. I’ve been baking a lot of cookies, so a cake seemed appealing. And I spied a little bit of leftover candied orange peel in my pantry, another Christmas baking leftover I didn’t want to let go to waste. So I chopped it up, and stirred it into a pound cake batter with a glug of orange flower water for good measure. Then I poked holes throughout the finished cakes with a toothpick, and drenched them in the glaze. The pound cakes are fragrant, tender, and a little heady with the grownup flavors of the orange flower water, candied peel, and alcohol.
Since I was in an experimenting mood, I thought I would try making pound cake with a truly old fashioned idea: a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, and a pound of butter. Use a digital kitchen scale to weigh each of your ingredients. Without a leavening agent, this batter requires a long beat at high speed, perhaps five to ten minutes depending on your mixer, so be patient with it. It’s worth the wait!
Music for this baking pound cake
Diana Krall’s equally heady The Look of Love is a nice listen.
This cake is delicious plain, but if you’d like to gild the lily, drizzle it with a little raw honey. It would make a yummy breakfast toasted and smeared with good butter and a pinch of salt.
Pound Cake Tips
This pound cake recipe does not include a leavening agent, such as baking soda or baking powder, which acts to make cakes rise as they bake. Beating air into the butter and sugar creates volume, but it takes time. The butter and sugar will be nearly white when ready and very fluffy. This takes perhaps five to ten minutes depending on the power of your mixer.
Don’t be afraid to really poke this cake all over, and spoon the glaze over very, very slowly so that it has a chance to soak in.
Orange Flower Water Pound Cake with Candied Orange Peel & Rum and Orange Liqueur Glaze
Yield: 2 loaves
1 pound of all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur.)
1 pound of sugar
1 pound of eggs
1 pound of unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
a dribble of orange flower water to taste (I never measure, but I would guess I added about two teaspoons.)
¼- ½ c. candied orange peel, finely diced (Skip it unless you have fresh.)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare two standard loaf pans by buttering them generously and dusting them with flour.
- In an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar on high speed until they are very light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between additions.
- Add the orange flower water and mix.
- Add the flour and salt and mix gently until it is just incorporated.
- Stir in the candied peel.
- Divide the batter into your two pans and bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick pressed into the center of a loaf comes out clean.
- While the cake bakes, stir up the glaze.
- Allow the cakes to cool slightly. Then remove them from their pans by running a knife around the edge and inverting the pan gently into your towel-covered hand. Place the cakes on a cooling rack over waxed paper or a paper bag.
- While the cakes are still warm, poke them all over with a toothpick or wooden skewer and pour the glaze over the cake.
Rum and Orange Liqueur Glaze
1 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 T. orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
5 T. spiced rum
- Stir together the sugar, the rum, and the orange liqueur until you have a smooth glaze.