A Home-Reared Chef! Cook by Instinct, Recipe #4!
Though my mother grew up in a wealthy home, with servants and chauffers, cooks and a warm, cozy bed in a large comfortable room, she most preferred the company of her “poorer” relations. She loved visiting her cousins in the country whenever she was allowed because she preferred to take her vacations there – rather than tag along with the grown-ups to wherever their chosen vacation spot might be. Her Tia Elsa, her mother’s younger sister, always received Olguita with open arms, even though she already had a house full of many children (twelve, in fact).
Growing-up, I got to listen to these stories many times. My mother never turned down my request when asked, “Tell me again, Mamá.” She jumped at the opportunity. Her eyes would light-up and she seemed to almost salivate as she recalled her days of youth there. How delicious the milk tasted, freshly collected from their one cow—warm and sweet and creamy-rich, with the thickest layer of cream just floating at the very top. This cloud of cream, still steaming, was tenderly lifted unto a plate and eaten with a hunk of bread for their breakfast. Sometimes, on this cream, amber-colored honey would be drizzled and enjoyed as if it was a pastry or piece of cake (a sweet meal!) alongside a huge mug of coffee that was mostly made-up of milk.
For years I listened to her stories, envying her time spent at her Tia Elsa’s home, enjoying bright sun and fresh air, and frivolous time spent eating and playing with her twelve cousins. But the most amazing thing for me was that with that many mouths to feed they could still welcome one more! Even in her mother’s home, generosity was never really shown to her own family. It is because of these stories that I have romanticized the old days, but the truth is that I have been spoiled with modern conveniences and would not now easily survive without them. Nevertheless, I allow myself to dream about those days, and what it would have been like for me if I’d had the same opportunity.
I created this dense and yummy pound-cake recipe for my mother. She loves it so much that I usually have to limit her to one rather big slice and hide the rest. When you are a diabetic you need to be careful just how much sugar you allow. A little indulgence once-in-a-while is not a problem, after all.
This cake is great for dunking in milk, coffee or tea. Yums!
Orange Vanilla Pound Cake
11/2 cups white sugar
11/2 cups golden-brown sugar
8 extra-large eggs
2 cups salted butter (1 pound), softened to room temperature
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate (defrosted), undiluted
4 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 tablespoon vanilla
(Note: Temporarily take out middle rack and preheat oven to 350˚ F.)
1. With a hand-mixer, on medium, cream together all sugars and eggs for 4 minutes, until light and creamy looking.
2. Add butter and beat on medium for 2 minutes.
3. With a good hefty spoon, gently incorporate flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Carefully mix in the defrosted, undiluted orange juice and vanilla. Blend well.
Pour into a buttered 9-inch tube pan. Working quickly re-place the middle rack back into the oven and place the pound cake pan in the center of oven, and close oven. Turn the oven heat down to 300˚ and bake cake for about 1½ hours or until a wooden stick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and sides of cake have pulled away from the pan.
NOTE: For good measure, start checking the cake for doneness at about 1 hour and 20 minutes into baking.