Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Break Means Nothing in Grad School

I stole my title from Laura G., a beloved sorority sister who is in grad school at Georgia State. It was her status on facebook today. Yeah, I'm a stalker, whatever. Anyway, I think it's brilliant and accurate. Spring break means time to catch up on all the projects you've stupidly taken on before finals crunch time. Or, if you're me, spring break is your last ditch study effort before quals. I planned my quals date strategically, specifically so I would have this week to immerse myself in all things media effects, feminist theory, content analysis, and critical/cultural approaches to mass comm. But what am I doing? Blogging! And baking a cake. I really hope no one on my committee is reading this and thinking I'm a slacker. It's just a 2 hour break. Seriously, I studied all morning! And someone very wise once told me that I can't work all the time.

Besides getting prepared for quals, the other thing I looked forward to for this week was baking. And cooking. Anything that's bad for me. I've already gone through a pint of heavy cream and a box of butter, and it's only Monday afternoon! Part of those ingredients went to my attempt at a whipping cream pound cake, found on the back of the box of Swan's Down cake flour. I have been itching to try out the bundt pan I got for Christmas, and now was the time to do so.

I will add this to the category of recipes called "things that are counterintuitive." From my culinary education on food network, I've learned that in cake baking, you always do wet ingredients first, then add the dry. I even screwed up on my own once ignoring the rule. I also have learned, the hard way, to always preheat the oven. But this time, the cake recipe called for me to ignore both of those truisms and do the opposite. We'll see how it turns out. Here's the recipe, with a few minor adjustments in the technique:

Swan's Down Whipping Cream Pound Cake
3 cups sugar
3 sticks butter, room temperature
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 pint (8 ounces) heavy whipping cream

Do not preheat oven. Cream butter and sugar with hand mixer until creamy. (Note: this was really tough for me, for some reason, with so much sugar and butter. I am now convinced I need a new hand mixer.) Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla. With a wooden spoon, alternate adding the whipping cream and flour until all incorporated. Pour into a greased bundt pan, and bake at 300 for 1 1/2 hours. Allow to cool completely.

I'm still waiting on it to come out of the oven, but it sure smells good right now while it's baking! And the batter was delicious, so that's a good indication, right? I'm baking my own pound cake in order to make something I saw on someone else's blog - Limoncello Tiramisu. I'll blog about that one when I need another break.

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