For a long time we were afraid of baking. But because we have wicked sweet teeth and tire of eating Roz bi-Laban from Abu Tarek and McDonald’s caramel sundaes (not to demean their achievements in their respective fields), we got over our fear of exact measurements and took to the oven. It turns out that baking is not that hard.
But it does require some special equipment, unless you have really strong arms and an iron will. Since we’re 0 for 2, we were exceedingly happy when the reigning queen of Cairo baking bequeathed her mixer (to which some of you might refer as a “hand mixer”) to TBE HQ upon her departure to more blustery climes. To say that owning a mixer has revolutionized our life would be an overstatement, but to say it has revolutionized that part of our life that involves baking would be a patent truthhood. Therefore we suggest that you buy one immediately if you haven’t done so already.
So that’s our baking spiel. Basically it’s a field of cooking endeavor with high fixed sunk costs, but we can almost guarantee that your enterprise will enjoy many happy returns.
With that we turn to today’s featured recipe, which some amongst you may know as pound cake, but which we refer to by the more evocative title given above, since everyone knows terrorists have been trying to get their hands on this yellow cake for years, they hate us for our baked goods, etc.
Our recipe is adapted for Cairo from this one from the Smitten Kitchen, our favorite recipe blog. We made it in this loaf pan, which might not be available in Egypt but if you’re on the market we suggest El-Ebiary.
One additional note: Your correspondent is a notorious lover of rich foods, and even he found this cake rich, since it consists almost entirely of butter and sugar. So a loaf will probably feed more people than one would expect from its diminutivish size.
Recipe after the jump.
Terrorist Fist Jab Cake
170 grams butter at room temperature, plus a tiny bit more to butter the pan
112.5 grams cream cheese (MY: We used to use Philadelphia exclusively but were recently hipped to Milkana Ultra Crème, which at LE8 for 250 grams is exponentially cheaper than Philadelphia (and probably more widely available) without a noticeable sacrifice in flavor. Thanks to Sara(h) Smith and E-Squared for the tip.)
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla (Powdered vanilla is almost always available, but liquid vanilla extract is one of those ingredients that appears randomly on the market. So if you see it you should stock up.)
1.5 cups flour plus a tiny bit more to flour the pan
.5 tsp salt
Turn the oven on to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter the bottom and sides of the pan, then pour a bit of flour into it and shake it around so it sticks to the butter. Discard or reuse the unaffixed flour.
Beat the butter and sugar on medium until they become one.
Add the sugar and beat on high for several minutes until you attain an extremely airy texture. Said airy texture is like pornography. You can’t define it but you’ll know it when you see it.
As always, when the batter starts creeping up the sides of the mixing bowl, use a spatula to push it back into the main mix.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one until it is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next one.
Add the vanilla and beat some more.
Add the flour and salt and beat just until they are incorporated.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth out the top, either by shaking or using some smooth implement.
Bake for one hour, then insert a something into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, leave it for a couple minutes then re-attempt. Ours took about one hour and five minutes. In general the less the depth and/or the greater the surface area, the shorter it will take to bake. Use your discretion.