Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Whole Lotta Baking Goin' On

My kitchen is doing overtime as baking central.  Tonight alone, I'm baking brownies for a co-worker's birthday, a birthday cake to be frosted and decorated tomorrow night, a Grand Marnier pound cake (and a couple of little pound cakes), cinnamon rolls to freeze for friends who'll bake them themselves Christmas morning,  and before I go to bed, there'll be yet another batch of peppermint bark.  This is nothing.  Tomorrow night, I'm baking a whole slew of pound cakes to deliver to friends on Thursday. The star of the show, tonight, is the Grand Marnier pound cake.  My version of the recipe follows (adapted from many, including a recipe from the 70s, the "Harvey Wallbanger" cake). This cake is great, a dense pound cake infused with Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec if you have it).  Pound cakes in general are very good things...

oven - 350 degrees F

Makes 1 bundt pan or 2 loaves

Grease and flour pan(s) or spray with baking spray

1 yellow cake mix (white is fine as well)
4 eggs
1 package instant vanilla pudding (4 serving size)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier

In large mixer bowl, slowly mix all the ingredients.  Turn mixer to medium speed and beat until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the batter is thick and smooth.  Pour batter into pan(s) and bake until cake tests done (top bounces back when pressed lightly) or toothpick comes out clean.  For a bundt pan,  bake 45 minutes to start and test for doneness, adding time if necessary.  Oven temps vary so bake according to your own oven's personality.

While cake is baking, make glaze:

1/3 cup Grand Marnier
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup orange juice

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer for 5 minutes, not a minute more.  Turn off  heat.  (Watch carefully, sugar can burn very easily, as I learned all too well in my last apartment as the fire department arrived just in time - catastrophe averted!)...

Cool cake 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool on cooling rack.  While still warm, brush glaze over top, twice.  When completely cooled, lightly sift confectioners sugar on top.

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