When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

Earl Grey Pound Cake October 26, 2009

Filed under: All-occasion cakes — crummb @ 10:24 pm
Tags: ,

earl grey butter cake lo

Ever since I started this blog over a year ago, I’ve received lovely comments about how my posts are down-to-earth, unpretentious and self-deprecating.

Well, this is not one of those posts.

Today, I’m going to brag about what an utter genius I am for coming up with this most astounding of butter cakes, the Earl Grey Pound Cake. And get this: I didn’t just follow a recipe from some book that I bought or am reviewing, like I usually do. I pretty much made up this recipe myself.

Okay, so I adapted it from a new cookbook that’s out in the stores. But unlike many sneaky food bloggers out there who adopt published recipes as their own by changing something really small, like the amount of sugar, I changed a lot of this recipe, awright?

Having read Shirley O. Corriher’s BakeWise, I have become so clever that I knew, at one glance, that the stated 1/8 tsp of baking powder is way not enough. So I upped it. I also did away with ingredients A and B, because the cake would be too sweet with them. I also cancelled ingredient C and D because I wanted a finer texture, and I dropped ingredient E because it would overpower the Earl Grey tea flavour.

Please, hold your applause. I’m not done yet.

Last but not least, I increased the butter and cut the sugar so it had the perfect balance that’s super-buttery and not too sweet. And, ta-da, what did I get? A butter cake that is so tender, so moist and fragrant, I believe this is the thing that’s gonna make me my first million.

Call me smug, but I’ve been dreaming about opening a bakery that specialises in all variations of this stupendous butter cake – orange, lemon, green tea, five-spice, you name it – and cake-worshippers from all over the country would descend upon me to beg for a small slice. Like the institutional Lana Cakes shop in Bukit Timah, I would only need to open four days a week to support my two kids through school and my husband through full-time skate-boarding.

And, like Lana bakery (I’ve been allowed inside its bowels before! One of the better privileges of being a food writer), I would have a little air-conditioned room tucked way at the back where I mix my batter and keep my secret ingredient away from view.

Yes, friends, this recipe has a secret ingredient, one that keeps the cake so incredibly moist even after a few days. But I’m not telling. Many of you have asked for recipes in my previous posts, and in the spirit of fraternal goodwill and generosity towards all baker-kind, I have happily obliged. But not this one, folks. This one is mine.

Go ahead. Beg, plead, or appeal to my soft, vulnerable 6-months-pregnant heart for my classified recipe. But I will only have three words for you – Get cher own.

This mamma’s not budging.


39 Responses to “Earl Grey Pound Cake”

  1. cookie Says:

    fine, you keep the recipe. Just gimme a slice of it… can? *on bended kneels*

    • crummb Says:

      erm, i’m a little nervous giving one to you cos you’re a master baker. what if my cake isn’t that good after all and i’m just deluded all this time?! haha

  2. vivian Says:

    i still cannot forget the heavenly rush of earl grey in my mouth the first time i ever bite into it! … and I am supposed to be on a caffine-free diet!

    and i think this cake should be best eaten hot or warm! i didn’t microwave yesterday’s piece and the tea taste wasn’t as strong. could be just a theory though but when ur shop opens i don’t mind buying e first one i can get my hands on and experiment with it!

    • crummb Says:

      that’s what Z said too! that the cake is better if it’s warm. i actually ate it one night when it was stone-cold, straight out of the fridge. and it was STILL yummy! but then i’m biased ;P

  3. jocelyn Says:

    hahahha! this blog post made me lol!! 🙂 and i can’t wait for you to open a bakery (please tell me you’re not joking about this!), I’ll be queueing!! 🙂

  4. chris Says:

    so what do the bowels of Lana Cakes look like?
    Ok that came out sounding wrong. but what what what? can tell without having to kill us afterwards?

    • crummb Says:

      i wrote an entire article about it! and i consider it the biggest coup of my food-writing career. will email it to you. check your inbox!!

  5. faithy Says:

    LOL! I love this blog post of yours..made me laughed out really loud!

  6. LT Says:

    You’re such a scream!

    Are you taking orders for the cake yet?

  7. tellaure Says:

    i’ve never understood the allure of lana cake. though i can see where you’re going with this one.

    earl grey tea? check.
    buttery? check.
    less sweet? check.

    i want a piece of this! (cues britney spear’s piece of me. i know, but it’s catchy!)

    • tellaure Says:

      and i’ve bakewise on my table now … thinking about the recipe.

      i’ve managed to abstain from from flipping those baking books for the past 2 weeks to prepare for my exams. if i fail, it’s your fault. if i fail, i’d have to retake those modules and my world will collapse on me and … and … -dramatic music-

      (guilt tripping always works … almost)

      • crummb Says:

        but look at things this way hunney – if you pass, you owe me big time for being such a source of inspiration. bwaahahha!

  8. Stef Says:

    I’ve been working on a earl grey number as well except i shamelessly swirled mine with a citrus and vanilla bean creme because both go so darn well together.

    regular leaves did not cut it for me though,the flavour disappeared in the heat of the oven,i thus resorted to powdered earl grey for baking…got it from a friend’s store
    but your creation looks superbly moist…yummmm…


    • crummb Says:

      powdered earl grey? are they better? i basically used the contents in regular Dilmah tea bags!

      • Stef Says:

        it is better baybeh!
        I can always mail you some but I think it might be identified as scented anthrax since it’s powdered and all..hahaha!
        my friend’s shop is located at kallang bahru though,google kitchen capers.

      • crummb Says:

        i’ve heard a lot about kitchen capers! will def check it out soon 🙂

  9. ah pei Says:

    Haha like your post as always !
    Yes, some secrets should always be secrets.
    Look fwd to your store !! really !!

  10. crummb Says:

    HWAAAAAH! first time ever in my blog that i get TEN comments within a day. it pays to be arrogant and smug! as for taking orders for this cake… i’m still thinkin about it. what if one of you can decipher what is my secret ingredient?!!! another issue: how much should i charge for one 20-cm long pound cake? suggestions?

  11. ovenhaven Says:

    Haha, love this smug post! I’m looking forward to your bakery and/or cookbook, whichever comes first! 😀

  12. Z Says:

    im looking forward to skating fulltime…

  13. daphnechan00 Says:

    i fell left out! my taste buds are dying!! i want one!!

  14. queenbea Says:

    hello ms crummb, don’t be so how lian. i know what it is. coca cola a la nigella?

  15. JuJu Says:

    heard that my ‘two-fingers-in-mouth-n-palm-on-forehead’ has been copied – even though three fingers were utilised and palm on forehead a little TOO spread out…… Pass me the recipe and we can call it quits!

    • crummb Says:

      don’t try to tempt me with that handsome face and chubby cheeks of yours – i will not budge!!! i will make one and send it up to you soon la 😛

  16. Mamalicious Says:

    Ahh…. wht a wonderful surprise!!!Whn I checked ur blog after many weeks of disappointment of no new entries…. I’m pleasantly surprised tht your back…and PREGNANT:) The cake sure looked good..ahhh if only I get to taste it.:)

    • crummb Says:

      yes, am popping in two months’ time! will be writing a few more posts before i go AWOL again. but hopefully i’ll be up and baking after 2-3 months 🙂

  17. sweets Says:

    Okay, I’m guessing its mayo or invert sugar? hope that’s correct. =)))

  18. sweets Says:

    haaa! okok. Btw, i think we have the same new book. the one that adds 1/8tsp baking powder. I don’t even have a tsp that small! the best part was my mind was telling me 1/8tsp is definitely not enough baking powder, but i still tried….. i can absolutely confirm for you that its not enough. =P

    • crummb Says:

      alamak!!! yes you have the SAME book! you know my secret! now i gotta pay you to keep quiet. sheeesh! hehehe.
      hey, i actually told the publisher (since i am planning to review the book in ST) that there may be an error regarding the 1/8 tsp. and guess what – the author wrote back! said there is no error, it really is 1/8 tsp. but gotta beat the butter (make sure it is still chilled) for 10 mins. (10 mins!) i will give it another try soon and see how it goes 🙂

  19. sweets Says:

    Eh… i tried the the recipe again. Added 30g more butter and beat the helluva the butter for 10mins. It rose beautifully. crumb was tender and moist. success! thanks for the 10min tip. cheers!

    • crummb Says:

      hey, i tried it again too! but stuck with same amount of butter and beat for 10 mins. after about 4 mins the butter melted till very slushy. and i had to place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice to keep it chilled. end result was a disappointment! it rose very high but the texture was quite tough. didn’t your butter melt too?

  20. sweets Says:

    Hmmm… the butter didn’t melt, it became light and fluffy. I used the butter when it was 5mins out of the fridge (still relatively chilled), and beat at medium speed (on my kitchenaid mixer). Could it be due to the brand of butter? I used the french butter from PH.

    • crummb Says:

      ha! i used the cheap one from PH! could be the reason. anyway i think i will stick with using my increased amount of BP in future. 10 mins of beating is just plain torture! 😛

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