The recipe for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie was Marshmallows, as chosen by Judy of Judy's Gross Eats. I was ambivalent to the idea of making homemade marshmallows, but my decision not to make these sweet morsels this week was pushed by my parents. My mom and dad weren't too keen on the idea of marshmallows, and since they are the main consumers of baking attempts, I had to forgo the marshmallows.

I wanted to participate in TWD in some way this week, so I chose to make one of the recipes that the group had completed before I joined the group. I was tempted to bake Almost-Fudge Gateau, but I already had the ingredients for the Perfection Pound Cake in the house so that was the winner for me.

Ingredients (from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)

  • 1/2 pounds (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
It was a really late night baking session for me since I came home late and didn't get to work on the cake until 10:30 PM. Since the heater in our house has been broken for a few months and we've been relying on space heaters, the butter can never really soften in the kitchen. I brought the sticks of butter into the bathroom in hopes that the steam from my shower would be warm enough to do the trick, but it didn't work as well as I had hoped. I had to microwave the sticks of butter for about 10 seconds to soften them before getting started.

In a stand mixer outfitted with a paddle attachment, I whipped together the butter and sugar on high speed for a full five minutes until the mixture became pale and fluffy. The results of the high speed beating looked so delicious that I wanted to stop right there and simply eat the sweetened butter. I trekked on for the sake of Dorie Greenspan, though.

Next came the eggs. I added each egg one at a time and made sure to mix the batter for 1 minute between each addition. I had to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl many a times because everything kept on creeping up. It was kind of annoying because it was late, it was taking up a bit of time, and I still had over an hour of baking time ahead of me. After the eggs were all added, the vanilla was mixed in.

The dry ingredients were added last. Now, Dorie said to whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together before adding them into the butter/egg/sugar/vanilla mixture. However, I didn't feel like pulling out another bowl and dirtying a whisk, so I skipped this step. I added the flour half of a cup at a time and mixed it into the batter on low speed. In between each flour addition, I added the salt and baking powder. Dorie warned us not to overwork the batter, so I actually stirred in the last half cup of flour by hand. Once that was all done, I poured the batter into a 9x5-in loaf pan that had been sprayed with Baker's Joy spray. After smoothing the top with a spatula, I popped it into a oven preheated to 325 degrees F. Then I waited.

The wait was pretty long. I checked the cake at the 45 minute mark to make sure it wasn't browning too quickly (it wasn't), and then left it in the oven for another 25 minutes. All in all, the cake baked for 70 minutes, just as Dorie said. I let the cake cool in the loaf pan for 30 minutes before removing it and letting it cool to room temperature.

I ended up wrapping the cake in saran wrap around 12:45 AM, but I did manage to sneak in a taste before going to bed. I was absolutely shocked by how buttery the cake tasted. I automatically cut back on the amount of butter I use in a recipe, but I decided against doing that for some odd reason. I really regretted it when I sampled the cake. I don't enjoy it when a baked good is overpowered by the taste of butter. Plus, the cake ended up being on the dry side. I think my oven might run a bit warmer than normal because I allowed the cake to bake for 70 minutes, and Dorie said that the cake should bake for 70-75 minutes. I really need to put my family's oven thermometer to use and maybe cut back on the cooking time.

I tried the cake this morning before class and liked it a bit better. I guess I just need to get used to the butter flavor or maybe the the butter flavor mellowed a tad. My parents didn't comment on the taste; they just said that the cake was dry. So the cake wasn't bad, but I'm not sure that I would make it again...

Any thoughts?


  1. Sweet and Savory Eats said...

    Sorry you didn't like the cake. I know what you mean, though, about not like it when butter overpowers the baked good. Maybe cut back half a stick next time?  

  2. Jayne said...

    I'd definitely check on the oven temp - I was having problems for a long time before it dawned on me that my oven might be running cold. Sorry you didn't like the pound cake - that's another one they did before I joined, too. I like to put lemon zest in the pound cake recipe I use - it cuts the buttery flavor.  

  3. Sharon said...

    What a great idea to do an old aready done recipe in place of the New one that you don't want to make!  

  4. Hilary said...

    I made this cake a few months ago and it was TERRIBLE. I think it's just a bad recipe, because I got a bunch of comments that said the same thing.  

  5. mimi said...

    what a great idea, i wasn't able to do the marshmallows, so i should've picked something from another week! but sorry the cake didn't come out to your liking :(  

  6. Liliana said...

    Your cake does look good! It's too bad you didn't like your cake.

    Hmm... this was a recipe I have been wanting to make...

    What I do to soften butter is cut it into small pieces. It will take less time.  

  7. Hygeian Stew said...

    I had the same reaction when I made the lemon tart last week. My first reaction was "that's way too much butter", but against my better judgment I followed the recipe and the end result? Very buttery tasting lemon tart. But the next day the butter taste seemed to meld better.  

  8. Cecilia said...

    The cake is now devoured, so it wasn't too bad. With that being said, I will definitely cut back on the butter next time and maybe swirl in another flavor to offset the butter (the lemon zest idea sounds yummy, Jayne).

    I like Dorie a lot, so I hate to agree with you, Hilary. This recipe doesn't seem to be anywhere near perfection, does it? Or perhaps Dorie uses a special kind of butter that has less flavor? I just don't know...I'll have to see how the carrot cake turns out. I really hope that doesn't turn out buttery, too.