Excerpts for Martha Stewart's Cakes : Our First-ever Book of Bundts, Loaves, Layers, Coffee Cakes, and More


Loaves

These are anytime cakes, easy ones you want to whip up and keep on the kitchen counter to enjoy for breakfast, slice for snacks and lunchboxes, or serve with pots of tea. Rich pound cakes may be the most familiar, but plenty of other batters can be baked in the familiar rectangular pans, too. The loaves are also a cinch to dress up with fresh fruit, sauces, curds, compotes, or whipped cream for a plated dessert.

pound cake, page 17

Pound Cake

Light on effort, heavy on satisfaction, pound cake owes its name to the traditional ingredients--one pound each of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs--which remain essentially the same today. This batter makes a delicious classic pound cake, and it's also the base for the variations on the following pages. A couple of tips for success: Leave the butter and eggs out at room temperature for an hour before mixing; if they're cold, the batter will not be properly smooth. Creaming the butter and sugar thoroughly is crucial, because it gives the batter the necessary volume. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves

2cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans

1pound (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour

1teaspoon coarse salt

21/4cups sugar (1 pound)

1teaspoon vanilla extract

9large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Whipped Cream, for serving (optional; page TK)

Macerated Berries, for serving (optional; page TK)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to medium; beat in vanilla. Add eggs in 4 batches, beating thoroughly after each and scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 4 batches, beating until just incorporated.

3. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Tap pans on counter; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream and macerated berries, if desired.

Five More Pound Cakes

Vanilla Bean-Ginger pound cake

Follow Pound Cake recipe (page 15), substituting seeds of 1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise and scraped) for the vanilla extract. Bake and cool as directed. For the ginger glaze: Heat 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk and 1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger in a saucepan over medium heat until milk begins to simmer. Let cool; discard ginger. Stir in 2 cups confectioners' sugar. Drizzle over cooled cakes. Sprinkle chopped candied ginger on top.

Chocolate-Chip pound cake

Follow Pound Cake recipe (page 15), folding 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips into finished batter. Bake and cool as directed. Serve cake with Chocolate-Coffee Liqueur Sauce (page TK) and vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry-Sour Cream pound cake

Follow Pound Cake recipe (page 15), substituting 1/2 cup sour cream for 1/2 cup butter. Toss 2 cups fresh blueberries with 2 tablespoons flour; fold into finished batter. Before baking, sprinkle 2 tablespoons sanding sugar over each cake. Bake and cool as directed. Serve with Whipped Cream (lemon variation; page TK).

Toasted Coconut pound cake

Follow Pound Cake recipe (page 15), folding 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut into finished batter. Before baking, sprinkle 1/3 cup additional coconut over each cake; bake, tented with foil, and cool as directed. Serve with mango-lime sauce: Pure 1 chopped pitted mango, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor until smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup diced mango and 1 teaspoon lime zest.

Marble Pound Cake

Follow Pound Cake recipe (page 15), omitting flour and salt, and dividing batter in half after the eggs are mixed into the batter in step 2. Mix 11/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour and 11/2 teaspoons salt into half the batter; mix 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and 11/2 teaspoons salt into the other half. Scoop batters into prepared pan, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating plain and chocolate. Swirl with a knife. Bake and cool as directed.

Lemon Pound Cakes

Lemon-flavored desserts always top the list of favorites among Martha Stewart Living staffers--and readers, too. This one is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser, with lemon zest mixed in the batter, syrup soaked into the warm cakes, and glaze poured over the top--not to mention the beautiful garnish of candied lemon slices. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves

For the cakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

3/4teaspoon salt

1/2teaspoon baking soda

2tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

21/2cups granulated sugar

6 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

For the candied lemon slices and syrup

1cup granulated sugar

1cup water

2lemons, sliced 1/8 inch thick or thinner, seeds removed

1/3to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

For the glaze

2cups confectioners' sugar

4to 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

1. Make the cakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and lemon zest.

2. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of sour cream.

3. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes (tent loosely with foil if tops begin to brown too quickly).

4. Meanwhile, make candied lemon slices and syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar and the water; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add lemon slices; simmer very gently over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until slices are opaque throughout, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat; with a slotted spoon, transfer slices to a sheet of waxed paper. Stir lemon juice into syrup to taste.

5. Remove cakes from oven. While still in pans, use a wooden skewer or toothpick to poke several holes in tops. Set aside ¼ cup lemon syrup; pour remainder over cakes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. Turn out cakes onto rack; set rack over a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Brush tops and sides of cakes all over with reserved syrup.

6. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and 4 tablespoons lemon juice; add up to 2 more tablespoons juice until glaze is pourable but thick. Pour over cakes (still on rack), letting it drip down sides. Let set, about 30 minutes. Garnish with candied lemon slices.

Blood Orange-Olive Oil Cake

The winning combination of chocolate and orange gets a twist: Blood-orange zest and juice flavor an olive-oil cake that is generously drizzled with a deep, dark chocolate glaze. Each slice of cake is topped with a honey-sweetened blood-orange compote. Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf

Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pan

13/4cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

6 blood oranges

1 cup sugar

1/2cup buttermilk

3 large eggs

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

11/2teaspoons baking powder

1/4teaspoon baking soda

1/4teaspoon salt

1/4cup honey

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 70 percent cacao), finely chopped (1/3 cup)

1/4cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess. With a vegetable peeler, remove colorful peel from 1 orange, leaving white pith behind. With a paring knife, cut rind into enough matchsticks to yield 2 tablespoons. Finely grate enough rind of remaining oranges to yield 1 packed tablespoon zest.

2. Peel 6 oranges; working over a bowl, cut segments free of membranes. Squeeze juice from membranes into a bowl (you will need ¼ cup juice). Cut segments in half, and place in bowl with orange-peel matchsticks.

3. Combine sugar and zest in another bowl; using your fingers, rub together well. Add juice and the buttermilk; whisk to combine. Add eggs and oil; whisk to combine. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; add to buttermilk mixture, whisking until smooth.

4. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until golden and a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack to cool completely. (Cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 2 days.)

5. Stir honey into bowl with orange segments. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate, let stand 5 minutes, and then whisk until smooth. Drizzle ganache over cooled cake and let set, about 1 hour. Serve with orange compote.

Cream-Cheese Pound Cake

The addition of cream cheese to the classic recipe results in an irresistibly moist and flavorful pound cake. Instead of making two loaves, you can make a single cake by baking the batter in a four-quart tube or Bundt pan; increase the cooking time by about five minutes. These cakes taste better the next day, and they store beautifully in the freezer (up to three months), wrapped well in plastic and foil. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

11/2cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces (1 bar) cream cheese, room temperature

3 cups sugar

6large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vegetable oil cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously coat two 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar slowly; beat until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 2 batches, beating until just combined.

3. Divide batter between prepared pans (pans will seem full). Tap pans on counter; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake until golden and a cake tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 70 to 85 minutes (tent with foil if tops begin to brown too quickly). Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack to cool completely.

Gingerbread

Gingerbread has somehow been relegated to the holiday season, but this loaf is so easy and delicious that it merits being made throughout the year. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar before serving, and top slices with Whipped Cream (page TK) sprinkled with the same spices used in the cake, if desired. Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

11/4cups all-purpose flour

1teaspoon salt

1/2teaspoon baking soda

1/2teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4teaspoon ground ginger

3/4teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4teaspoon ground cloves

1/2cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves into a large bowl.

2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.

3. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen. Turn out cake onto serving platter; dust generously with confectioners' sugar.

Two-Colored-Squash Loaf Cake

Once August rolls around and farm stands are overflowing with summer squash, this snacking cake is just the thing to bake. Here, two varieties--zucchini and yellow squash--are combined with nuts in a flavorful loaf. Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf

1/2cup plus 2 tablespoons (11/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature,plus more for pan

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

4 summer squash (combination of zucchini and yellow squash)

1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

11/2teaspoons baking powder

11/4cups sugar

4 large eggs

1teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Using a box grater, coarsely grate both types of squash. Place grated squash in a piece of cheesecloth (or clean thin dish towel); squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

2. Spread pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven 5 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl.

3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Fold in squash, pistachios, and fennel seeds.

4. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F. Continue to bake until cake is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack to cool completely. (Cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 2 days.)

Clementine-Vanilla Bean Loaf Cake

This fragrant cake makes the most of a plentiful supply of candy-sweet clementines--zest, juice, and segments. Vanilla beans contribute to the overall flavor, in a big way. Save the pods for making vanilla sugar: Place the split pods in a jar of sugar, seal lid, and leave for at least a week (shake daily to distribute flavor); the sugar should keep for several months. Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf

1/2cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

10 clementines or tangerines

3/4cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4teaspoon baking powder

1/4teaspoon baking soda

1/4teaspoon salt

11/4cups sugar

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped, pods reserved for another use

2 large eggs

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