Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bishop's Cake

My introduction to pound cake came at the Bronx Zoo during one of family’s rare vacations. I don’t remember why we hadn’t breakfasted at the hotel or in one of the many inexpensive diners in Manhattan but I do remember being confronted with a single serving package containing a slice of yellow cake as my morning repast.

I had neither seen nor tasted pound cake prior to that morning. Based on the light texture and flavor of this novel confection, I couldn’t understand why it was called “pound” cake. At the time I chalked it up to being something British and named after their currency.

Years later when I started baking and tried to duplicate the airy texture and delicate flavor that I remembered, I discovered why it was called “pound” cake. Every recipe that I tried produced a dense, heavy cake that tasted mainly of vanilla.

A few weeks ago, while browsing through my Silver Palate cookbook, I came across this recipe. I’m not sure why they call it “Bishop’s Cake”. It’s nothing like a traditional Bishop’s Cake. The note that goes with this recipe refers to it as pound cake. What caught my eye were the 5 eggs and the lemon juice.

Five eggs means five egg whites which when whipped enough should provide a lighter texture and the lemon juice in addition to vanilla might recreate the flavor that I associate with pound cake.

I beat this batter longer than called for in the recipe. And I struggled with the aluminum foil. I struggled even more getting the cake out of the bundt pan. But in the end, it was all worth it. While not exactly what I was hoping for, this is the closest I’ve ever come to recreating the pound cake of my youth.

Verdict: Yum!! This one’s a keeper!!

Bishop’s Cake
(source: The Silver Palate Cookbook: Delicious Recipes, Menus, Tips, Lore from Manhattan's Celebrated Gourmet Food Shop)

½ pound (2 sticks) sweet butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

Cream butter and sugar gradually; beat until fluffy.

Sift flour and add to butter mixture. Stir just enough to blend.

Add lemon juice and vanilla; stir well. Add eggs, one at a time, missing well after each addition.

Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (after 30 minutes, cover cake closely with aluminum foil.)

When cake is done, cool in its pan on a cake rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

8 to 10 portions.

Recycle: vanilla bottle

Compost: egg shells


Katy said...

YUM! I love pound cake!! I am intrigued by the idea of using egg whites only,even though the directions don't specify that, but you mention in your introduction..

Anonymous said...

I made this recipe with all of the egg. When you grease your pan, use butter and make sure to get in all the cracks of your bundt pan before dusting with flour. After dusting, if their are any bare patches rub butter on them and shake flour again. Then it will drop out easily. We served this with lavender ice cream.

Pambie said...

I've been making this cake for years! I've made other cakes with the same ingredients but I suspect that the overall "goodness" of this cake comes from the method of making it as well. I also use almond extract. Thank you so much for posting this recipe - I lost my Silver Palate cookbook in a move!

Elena Skok said...

Usually I love everything I try from the silver Palate cookbook but I found this cake so very sweet that after we tried a slice we ended up throwing it in the trash...what a waste!