‘Ol times and a whiff of nostalgia. This was for the times when cake was a special treat to be had when mum, who rarely ever baked, would take out that contraption of a thing that was the ‘gas oven’ and bake a pound cake with homemade cream. Oh, the pleasure of it, the taste buds still tingle.
Nothing evokes memories better than food and the thought of this cake reminded me of lazy Sunday afternoons awaiting the Sunday evening flick on TV, fighting with my brother for that first slice, and the satisfaction of a treat that was out of the ordinary.
But try as I might I couldn’t remember what the gas oven looked like. I remembered that it was big and bulky, it was black, and that it had a hole at the bottom that would go on top of the stove and that’s how the cake would get baked. So, I looked around and found something that came close enough. Imagine a big huge metal box with a door and a latch! Yep, that’s what it looked like.
Times have changed, but whether you have a brand new convection or an old gas oven, the smell of good old pound cake won’t and it will likely stay with you forever. This truly is home baked cake at it lightest and best. The inspiration came from having loads of fresh cream, just creamed off milk in the last day or two, in the fridge and the desire to do something other than making clarified butter. So, off I went to call my mum and ask what she did to get that inimitable taste. Her answer was, well, very simple. The cream should be fresh, the proportion of flour and cream and sugar should be roughly equal – pretty much what the pound cakes of old do, i.e. a pound each of butter, eggs, flour and sugar. But I balk at making a pound cake for that very reason – a pound of butter!
So, taking that as a rough guideline, I proceeded to make the cake that was soft and light, it made me miss the old times, those care-free school years and that child-like joy. I am just glad I could re-create a bit of that magic for my kids, even though my son will take some time to appreciate cake that doesn’t mean chocolate!
|Icing sugar||200 gms|
|All purpose flour||170 gms|
|Fresh cream||180 ml|
|Baking powder||1 tsp|
|Baking soda||½ tsp|
|Pure vanilla extract||1 tsp|
|Almond essence (optional)||½ tsp|
Take all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and whisk well. Preferably sift them together and whisk.
Using your hand-mixer, beat the milk cream and sugar. Do not over-whisk, which might cause the cream to curdle. Add the pure vanilla extract and mix.
Now, starting with the all-purpose flour, alternately whisk in the flour (in three additions) and milk (in two additions), again making sure not to over-whisk.
Pre-heat your oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Grease and line a round or square tin (a 7” or 8” inch tin should do very well). Pour in your cake batter and bake for approximately 45 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. The top of the cake would be a nice amber by now. The cake pulling away from the sides of the pan is also a good sign, but make sure to do the skewer test anyway!
Cool the cake completely on a wire rack before taking it out of the pan, post which there needs to be no more waiting for a taste of the good old times. You will perhaps not even notice the absence of egg! Enjoy!