Saturday, February 27, 2010

Maple Blueberry Pound Cake

King Arthur Flour and Pure Maple Syrup came together to offer a baking contest. The restrictions were that King Arthur Flour and 100% maple syrup needed to be included in the submitted recipes. There were three categories for adults: breakfast, savory and dessert.

For a dessert recipe, I opted to alter my grandmother's lemon pound cake recipe. This recipe makes a large cake in a bundt pan. I took out the lemon zest and added vanilla, blueberries and 3 tablespoons maple syrup. My first attempt at this cake did not go as planned. The recipe told me to add the baking powder at the very last before pouring into the pan. I just about forgot to add it, since I am not used to adding in another dry ingredient even after the vanilla. In the final product, the blueberries clumped on the bottom of the pan and were a batter-y mess since the suggested cooking temperature was only 300F. I cooked the cake a lot longer than the recipe called for, but it still did not cook through like I wanted.

On my second attempt, I coated the blueberries in flour before adding them to the batter. I added the baking powder with the other dry ingredients since that is what I am used to and the chances of me forgetting it in the future will be greatly diminished. I also chose to cook the pound cake at 350F, which is closer to a typical cake baking temperature. This second cake is something I am proud of. The blueberries still migrated more than I would have liked, but at least the cake cooked entirely through within a reasonable amount of time.

I thought about adding a maple glaze, but actually did not have a chance to test out my idea before submitting the recipe to the contest. I had wanted to sift some powdered sugar and add a few tablespoons maple syrup. I am not sure if I would have needed a little bit of milk to make the glaze spreadable or not. I wish I had spent the time to test this out, I think it would have added a layer to the recipe.

This was my first big baking contest that I have entered. I don't think that I created complicated enough recipes for them to go far (the other recipe being the maple banana crunch pancakes), but I definitely learned a lot in the process. Hopefully that will help me in the future, should I decide to enter more contests. I think the biggest drawback is that any recipe, even one that doesn't make it to the finals becomes the property of the sponsors. The recipes that I am most proud of are dear to me and I hesitate to give those away (in particular, my sugar cake and apple 'n honey cupcakes). I guess there are advantages and disadvantages to baking contests.

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