Sunday, February 23, 2014


3 sticks of butter
8 oz cream cheese
3 c sugar
½ t vanilla
1 ½ t cardamom
½ t salt
6 eggs
2 ½ c whole wheat flour

Bring butter, cream cheese and eggs to room temperature. Cream butter, cheese and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add salt, vanilla and cardamom and beat very well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each.  Add flour all at once and beat well again.  (I can still hear Fran saying “the more you beat it the better it is”.)

Pour into a buttered tube pan and bake at 350 for 1 ½ hours.  Check after 1 ¼ just in case. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.  Let cool, remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

BLIZZARD! 2/13/14

It’s a BLIZZARD!  I just knew the fear mongers were right this time… actually snowed and it snowed a LOT.  I have about 9 inches at my house and wasn’t able to go to work today (a rare occurrence).  I don’t think a single plow has passed down my street…who knows what tomorrow will hold.

 But here I am with an unexpected glorious day off and no way to run around like crazy doing errands.  I have done 3 loads of laundry, made a big pot of kale and bean soup, and now the house is filling up with the fragrance of Fiona’s Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Cardamom Poundcake.

This poundcake was originally made by Fran Welch, who I knew several lifetimes ago.  She turned her passion for great food into one of the first vegetarian restaurants in Evanston, Illinois, the Blind Faith CafĂ©.  (How am I old enough to have been around for the beginning of what is so ubiquitous now?) I hope wherever Fran is she is as happy as I remember her, laughing in her kitchen.  I brought her cake to a picnic one July 4th, where it so pleased a lovely blond child with it’s “my god, she surely will become ill if she has another piece” flavor, that I renamed it Fiona’s Poundcake.  I wonder if today part of Fiona searches for the rare taste of cardamom, which you really don’t come across very often.

I have made this many times, but today I ventured down into my magic basement and lo and behold found a wonderfully complex bundt pan, all points and angles. (thank you, Goodwill!)  I read on line about using melted butter and brushing it into all the nooks and crannies.  I did and the pan was just cold enough so that as I brushed the melted butter it solidified-I could clearly see if I was missing any spots.  Then I shook some raw sugar around inside and used it instead of my old trusty dented thin aluminum tube pan.  We’ll see how it comes out!

Well, I just typed the recipe to link to this in case anyone was interested and am pretty sure that I put in 3 ½ cups of  flour instead of 2 ½.  I had a terrible brain fart moment while measuring-I was concentrating so hard on fluffing and scooping and leveling the flour I lost count and re measured 3 times and I think that each time I was trying for 3 not 2.  This should be interesting.  Smells great.  15 minutes left on the timer. Usually I say “how bad can it be?” but I think with baking it might be pretty bad.

Definitely needs the extra 15 minutes.  I used a wooden label from a Antique Taco mushroom taco Pook and I had in Chicago  to test it.  Certainly has risen….

Nope.  Still wet and sticky on the pick!  Back in for another 15.

OK! Done.  Hour and forty five. Now it needs to cool and then I will attempt to get it out of the pan.  Not feeling too optimistic.

Am still waiting for it to cool –it needs to pull away from the sides of the pan.  I got a bit impatient and broke off the largest “bubble” (I am totally sure it would have made it much too uneven, even from underneath so it REALLY needed to be removed).  It was delicious!  Hope the rest of the cake is the same.  Wonder if I really did add too much flour?

Absolutely perfect release!!!! Now if only it’s edible!

The tension got too great.  First I poured a glass of wine

 and then distracted myself by looking at my food themed children’s books.  It is hard to choose a favorite, but I suggest you look at How Batistine Made Bread by Treska Lindsey, who actually lives near Asheville.  Totally charming.  The Seltzer Man by Ken Rush is touching but not cloying.  Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch offers a fresh feminist look at the world of sushi and There’s a Hair in My Dirt by none other than Gary Larson is as weird as you might imagine.  I look forward to having a grandchild to read these to but can certainly wait at least 7 years. No hurry at all. 10 would be fine. 

I could not wait another minute.  Cut down thru the crisp crust and gently pulled out the first slice.  Looked good-just a small area at the bottom (top) that was moister than the rest…then I tasted it and YES!!! I have no idea if there is more flour in this cake than there should be but it is delicious and the crust is a good ¼ inch thick…lovely lovely lovely.  Thank you fancy bundt pan and Fran and Fiona and all the kitchen goddesses who perch on my counters and cheer me on.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Just Beginning!

So glad you could make it, hello friends!  Playing in the kitchen right now, be back soon.