Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Return to Maida Heatter

What a great name, right? "Maida Heatter" - a name fitting for such a big personality!

I answered a cute pre-date questionnaire once (sent by the bachelor on his own accord) that asked if I preferred regular or mini cupcakes. Unfortunately, our opposite responses were indicative of the relationship which was short-lived. I responded that I was more into "regular" cupcakes as, to be quite honest, I love cake! (I'm pretty sure I've declared this many times before!) Sometimes I find the mountain of icing to be distracting from what should be the true star of the dessert - the cake. Icing is comprised of ingredients that are all delicious on their own - butter, sugar, flavouring, and if you're lucky - maybe a touch of meringue. But cake is a whole different story - it takes some skill and chemistry to create something special. Too much of one ingredient and you're stuck with a cake that's either too wet, alkaline, dry, the list goes on.

Oh yeah, cake. Maida Heatter. Anyway - I had a craving for cake! Good, dense, cake. The only thing that could cure my itch was a cool slab of pound cake. Mmmmmm, maybe with a touch of lemon and sugary glaze. And the only one who could write me a prescription for what ails me was her, Maida Heatter. So out came the cookbook and the page was opened to a recipe for a "Sand Torte". The name for "traditional" pound cake is derived from the ingredients needed - a pound of eggs, butter, sugar, and flour! That's four pounds of ingredients right there! This dense and fine-crumbed cake is usually served with tea but I've always enjoyed it warmed up a bit with some fruit and ice cream. This Sand Torte called for a similar amount of ingredients, but luckily not quite all four pounds! Instead of a full portion of flour, it was divided between flour and cornstarch, which created a lighter and tighter crumb which contributed to the "sand" texture (fine grain) of the cake, which to be honest, tended to the dry side. My Sand Torte came out a bit dry, I'm not sure if that is the standard, but I think next time I may try it with a touch of flavoured syrup.

Another reason it is called Sand Torte is that it calls for the pan to be dusted with breadcrumbs! I didn't have any on hand, so I used panko instead (haha, Japanese honey-ed breadcrumbs) but I didn't find that it made a difference. Either the batter swallowed up the crumbs or the panko didn't 'show up' enough.

I finished the cake (which came out BEAUTIFULLY golden brown) with a quick strawberry jam-based glaze. It looked like a giant donut - but just a bit more decadent.

1 comment:

  1. lol omg it does look like a giant donut! I'm with you though on the icing vs. cake thing. I actually prefer no icing since I find it too sugary usually. Actually pound cake goes deliciously dipped in cocoa ;)