Day 1 of this project: I make a pact with my self for no recipe alterations. If I am going to learn to be a better baker in my own kitchen with one cookbook, I must follow each and every instruction detail. I must imagine my teacher there with me. She, the dessert master, knows best. Using her exact ingredients and equipment will take away all possible mess-up factors.
It took no time at all for my herb temptation to creep in. I realize I’m conditioned now to think how to substitute in a tea for water or a syrup for a honey or maple syrup.
I made a rosemary lemon vanilla syrup the day before this cake. While this may be a classic taste combination, the syrup came out a little rosemary strong. I thought it may be good to soak into a cake and then I thought about pound cake. When I looked at Maida’s pound cake section, I found this recipe which uses 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and thought well why not try the syrup instead, the base of it was lemon juice after all. The idea may sound good, but the result was less than perfect. And I want to be perfect.
Ok, ok. Pact broken. But I have learned my lesson. I think.
I come away from this pound cake with three thoughts/questions.
First, what if my baking doesn’t measure up to Maida’s? My gut tells me to bake the recipe over until it does. My practical side says, that’s sort of wasteful because I still don’t know what to do with all I am baking and ingredients are expensive (this pound cake used 10 eggs!). Also, I may never finish the book at such a slow rate and already I’m unsure if I can at all.
Second, can one ingredient or pan substitution make that much of a difference? I think it depends, but I guess how much and when is TBD.
And third, pound cake! It occurred to me that I have never once ever made a pound cake, which gave me an even more un-baker like feeling because it seems like such a staple baking experience. And while I know that the name pound comes from the weight of the ingredients, actually using them really drove this home. But I wonder… this recipe used a pound of butter and flour, but over a pound for the sugar and eggs, so why is that? I wish I could ask Maida.
Do you have any thoughts? Please let me know!