Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

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Pound cake. I don’t know what it is about pound cake that just gets me going. Perhaps it’s that buttery taste, or the tight crumb that melts in your mouth, or the insanely delicious smell it creates in your kitchen when it’s baking. It’s basically heaven. Who can say no to that?!

Pound cake is actually easy to make. Most recipes have a very similar set of ingredients and are often called sour cream cakes or even butter cakes. Essentially, they use the same ingredients in varying quantities to achieve a given result. If you’re a geek like me, watch this video that shows you how the varying quantities affect the end result of the cake. Otherwise, just take my word for it, this stuff is good!

One thing I always took for granted with baking, was the temperature of the ingredients. I really learned the effects of it when I once make pound cake with sour cream straight out of the fridge! The cake ended up being stodgy inside as the cold of the sour cream made the butter in the batter firm up into little globules. Not ideal! Since then, I’ve always used room temperature ingredients. Your butter, eggs and sour cream and the crucial ingredients that should always be used at room temperature. Trust me.

Lastly, I confess that I did not measure the amount of chocolate chips I put in this pound cake. I like a lot of chocolate chips, so I cut up some chocolate and added it in. If it didn’t look enough when i stirred it through the batter then I added more! I estimate at least 1/2 cup of chocolate chips will be needed. I recommend buying a bar or chocolate and chopping that up rather than using chocolate chips from the baking aisle. It just doesn’t taste as good!

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake (Adapted from SBA)
Makes 1 loaf
220g all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
230g butter, softened to room temperature
200g granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 - 1 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, put your flour, baking powder, and salt. Give it a little whisk to combine. Set aside.

With a handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar and vanilla, until creamy, about 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in between additions. Add your sour cream and beat once more. Now add your dry ingredients. Mix using a spatula to give better control. You don’t want to overmix the batter! When the flour is nearly combined with the batter, add your chocolate chips and mix until fully incorporated. The batter will be very thick and creamy, as it should be.

Spoon batter into loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden. Check at 40 minutes to see if the cake is browning too much. If so, cover the top with some foil and continue baking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool inside the pan for 5 minutes. turn onto a cooling rack. Once cool to touch you can slice it up and eat it. It’s best to wait until it’s fully cool as that makes cutting easier.

Vanilla Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is a popular Italian dessert. The name literally translates to cooked cream. It’s one of the easiest desserts you could make and you can easily change up the flavours or accompaniments to suit your liking. This recipe is for the classic vanilla panna cotta which is a great place to start if you’ve never had this dessert before.

to me this dessert is like a cross between a jelly and a custard. The texture is similar to a thick custard, but the flavour is super creamy and decadent. Best of all, it requires a minimal amount of ingredients, and effort! What could be better than that!

Usually panna cotta is set in a mould and when you’re ready to serve you turn it upside down on a plate to release it. Honestly, I’ve never bothered with that! I just put my panna cotta in a glass, or jar or whatever container looks pretty. It’s so much easier and you don’t have to faff around trying to de-mould each panna cotta whilst praying it doesn’t collapse. Also this means you don’t need to grease your moulds either. See, I’m all about the quick and easy.

I decided to top my panna cotta with some raspberry coulis. You can use pretty much any fruit you like. I would opt for something tangy to cut through the rich panna cotta. Balsamic strawberries is a classic, but you could also try other berries or even a jelly of your choice. There’s also the lazy option of just eating it as is. Either way, it’s still enjoyable.

Vanilla Panna Cotta ( Adapted from HERE)
Makes 4-6
1.5 cups cream
1.5 cups whole milk (use all cream for a decadent version)
3 tsp gelatin
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Pour the milk and cream into the saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over top. Let soften for 5 minutes or until the surface of the milk is wrinkled and the gelatin grains look like wet sand.

Turn the heat on the lowest setting and allow the gelatin to dissolve. Dissolve the gelatin over low heat: Set the saucepan over low heat and warm the milk gently, stirring or whisking frequently. The milk should never boil or simmer; if you see steam, remove the pot from the stove and let it cool down. The milk should get hot, but not so hot that you can't leave your finger in the pot for a few seconds. The gelatin will dissolve quickly as the milk warms; it melts at body temperature so this step should go quickly.

Check to make sure the gelatin is dissolved: After about 2 minutes of warming, rub a bit of the milk between your fingers to make sure it's smooth. Or dip a spoon in the milk and check the back for distinct grains of gelatin.

Dissolve the sugar: Stir the sugar into the milk and continue warming until it dissolves as well. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes total to dissolve both the gelatin and sugar. Again, never let the mixture boil.

Whisk in the cream and flavorings: Remove the saucepan from the heat. Whisk in the cream, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.

Pour into the ramekins and chill: Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared ramekins and put in the refrigerator to chill. If serving straight from the cups, without unmolding, chill for 1 to 2 hours. If you want to unmold the panna cotta, chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.