One of my favorite things to do is read old cookbooks. Whenever I get the chance, I scour thrift stores for used cookbooks that have been well-loved, well-used over the years. While sometimes it's not best to travel back in culinary time, ( I'm so glad we don't
Jello-ize meats and vegetables anymore!), I often find inspiration to reinvent old classics. The truth is they're classics for a reason. One book I return to over and over again is The Joy of Cooking. Originally published in 1931, it has been revised and updated many times over the past ninety years. It is a tome of culinary wisdom and there are few books that can compete. Every kitchen should have one and no home chef should be without one. Want to learn how to fillet a whole fish? The Joy of Cooking. Want to bake a wedding cake? The Joy of Cooking. Jell-o mold of ham? No and no.
This is my take on The Joy of Cooking's Cockaigne cake. It is a stellar example of what pound cake should taste like. Made with sour cream, the crumb is tender and balanced. The flavor is boldy vanilla and buttery. I've topped the cockaigne cake with a bourbon and toasted almond glaze that adds crunch and notes of bourbon and caramel. This cake is perfect for anytime, anywhere.
225 grams butter, softened
440 grams granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
240 grams sour cream
400 grams cake flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
120 grams granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan.
In your fifth bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. With the mixer or beaters still running, gradually add in the granulated sugar. Beat to stiff peaks and glossy. Set aside.
In your first bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for five minutes.
With the mixer still running, slowly add the second bowl to the first bowl, one egg yolk at a time. Scrape down the sides as needed.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in the fourth bowl. Add half of the bowl into the first bowl and mix until just combined.
Add the sour cream to the first bowl and mix until combined.
Add the last half of the dry ingredients into the first bowl and mix until evenly combined.
Working in thirds, fold the egg white mixture into the cake batter. Go slowly so as to not deflate the egg whites but ensure that there are not any white streaks in the batter and the egg whites have been fully incorporated.
Carefully pour the cake batter into the prepared tube pan. Smooth the top and make sure the batter is evenly spread. Bake until the cake is cooked through, the top is nicely browned, and a cake tester comes out clean, roughly one hour and twenty minutes. Let cool.
Once cooled, spread the glaze on top of the cake and let set.
Bourbon and Toasted Almond Glaze
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 cup toasted almond slivers
Splash of bourbon
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Whisk everything together and pour over cake.