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Pound cake dressed up for Christmas

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Well, the Christmas clock is ticking down! Hopefully, you're about ready for the big day on Wednesday and you have most of your holiday work nearly finished and behind you. There still may be some baking that you still need to do and you may want to bake a pound cake, which is always popular and serves many. How about dressing up the pound cake for Christmas? You can with the recipe I have for you, which is appropriately titled "Holiday Pound Cake". This cake definitely looks like Christmas with the vanilla glaze and the red and green cherries decorating it!

This cake also gets flavor from cream cheese, which works wonders for a pound cake. If you're familiar with making a pound cake, then you're well aware about the importance of creaming the butter and sugar together. This step is very essential, since it's the creaming that incorporates air into the mixture, giving you a high, light cake. The eggs go in one at a time and beaten completely as they're added. This step is also important since you want to incorporate the eggs individually, allowing air to be beaten into the mixture gradually. It's at this point that the batter can't be overmixed. However, once flour goes into the batter, you should be careful about overbeating. Overbeating any cake batter will result in tunnels throughout the cake's texture or worse yet, a cake that falls.

The cake can be baked in either a standard tube pan or a Bundt pan, which I often use for pound cakes. Since ovens vary, set your time for the least amount of time called for in your recipe. When that time has passed, check your cake. I always use the toothpick test of inserting it in the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, let it bake several more minutes, then check again.

When the cake is turned out, let it cool completely before decorating it. The cherries used for decorating can be either red, green or both. I prefer using both since it really makes the cake look festive. This cake is rich, so try serving modest portions!

Earlier this month, I passed along another cake recipe called "Christmas Cake", which has white layers and a filling containing red and green cherries. To get this recipe, follow this link in case you missed it earlier:

http://www.examiner.com/article/cake-that-looks-like-christmas

If you need a holiday cake for company, here's one I suggest that's as good to eat as pretty to see!

HOLIDAY POUND CAKE

  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, beating completely as they're added. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients gradually, blending well as they're added. Turn mixture into a greased and floured tube pan or Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until cake tests done (since my oven bakes fast, I check it at about 45 minutes, the go from there.) When done, remove from oven and turn out of pan onto a cake platter. When cool, decorate with Vanilla Glaze and candied red and/or green cherries. Yield: 16-20 servings.

Vanilla Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons water
  • candied red and/or green maraschino cherries for decoration

Combine the confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract and water to make a glaze, adding a bit more sugar or water, whichever is needed to give the correct consistency. Drizzle over cake and decorate with candied cherries.

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