Near the beginning of this year, I found a cooking group on Meetup.com. Once a month, a group of ladies get together at somebody's house bringing food that go with whatever the theme is. For months, I have wanted to attend an event with this group. I mean, cooking? Eating different kinds of food? Meeting new people in a city where I don't know anybody? Sign me up! Unfortunately, my time management in the first year of teaching just did not go well with any of the dates and times for the events. Then during the summer, I went home to Jersey and worked a couple weeks for summer school. It wasn't until last month that I actually got to go to a meetup.
The theme for August was fondue. I had never really thought about any other fondue except chocolate or cheese. This meetup opened my eyes at the possibilities. People brought Guinness Cheese Fondue (my favorite), Brie Fondue (with a little cinnamon and it was a little sweet but still good), Broth Fondue, and just plain oil to cook pieces of meat. And of course, there had to be chocolate. Since I love baking, I decided to bring dippers for the chocolate fondue. I definitely tried to compensate for the previous meetups I couldn't attend and brought so much food. Marshmallows, pretzel rods, Rice Krispy Treats, strawberries, bananas, and pound cakes. But all of those are good dippers!
The two pound cakes I made were Cream Cheese Pound Cake and Condensed Milk Pound Cake. The Cream Cheese recipe will appear on here soon, but just know that it has three sticks of butter and a pack of cream cheese. It is so rich, but also is extremely good. I want to share the recipe for the Condensed Milk Pound Cake first. Just like any other recipe I come across, this is one I've wanted to try for a while. What does the condensed milk do that makes the cake so different from a regular one? It was dense, but not in a heavy way that you'd expect from something like a Cream Cheese Pound Cake, and has a soft bite. It's perfect for fondue because crumbs don't get everywhere! Just look at the picture of the cleanly sliced cake. The cake stays together very nicely. It's also extremely easy to make as everything is dumped into a food processor. I am so glad I got one last year. I make Oreo Balls quite often and it comes in handy.
Going on a picnic? Looking for something to eat in the car without getting crumbs everywhere? Making dessert sandwiches with pound cake slices? This is perfect for it. A clean and sturdy pound cake.
Condensed Milk Pound Cake
From Tracey's Culinary Adventures
1 cup (8 oz, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (7 oz) all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (3 3/4 oz) sugar
1 vanilla bean, chopped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (8 1/2 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325F. Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
Sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside. Put the sugar and the chopped vanilla bean, if using, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until the vanilla bean is finely ground and then sift the sugar/bean mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, returning the mixture to the food processor afterward. (If you aren't using the vanilla bean put only the sugar in the bowl of the food processor at this point.)
Add the butter and salt to the food processor. Process until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then add the condensed milk and pulse until well incorporated, about 15 times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the dry ingredients and pulse until no traces of the flour remain, about 10 times. Add the eggs and pulse just until combined, about 5 times. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it now.) Finish mixing by hand to fully incorporate the ingredients.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a tested inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool completely in the loaf pan on a rack.