Who doesn't like a buttery, rich pound cake? Simple and pleasingly plain, it's comfort food for adults and kids alike. While a winner as-is, a pound cake's simplicity is also an inviting canvas, amenable to garnishes (whipped cream, anyone?) and fruity additions, such as citrus and berries. A brush of syrup on the just-baked cake takes it to yet another level, infusing each crumbly bite with the tang of flavor (lemon? orange?) and saturating the entire loaf with a luscious stickiness.
With all of these choices for inspiration, I went all out and piled on the extras in this fragrant pound cake recipe, with orange zest and ground coriander infusing the batter, and a pile of syrupy strawberries and fluffy cream adorning the plate. The coriander might sound unusual, but it's a dark horse worth considering when it comes to desserts. Often associated with savory food and Asian cuisines, ground coriander is mildly floral and nutty, and brings a subtle perfume and flavor to sweets. It's also exceptionally compatible with citrus, such as orange.
For this recipe, I relied on a favorite tried-and-true pound cake method by Rose Levy Beranbaum, in which she uses lemon syrup to brush her cake. I used an orange and coriander syrup to moisten the cake and coat fresh strawberries, which are spooned over the cake before serving.
Coriander Spiced Pound Cake With Strawberries
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus cooling time
Yield: Makes one 8-by-4-inch loaf -- approximately 8 servings
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound strawberries, hulled, halved (or quartered if large)
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated orange zest
Prepare the syrup:
Combine the sugar, water and ground coriander seeds in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Strain the syrup into a bowl and set aside 2 tablespoons syrup for the strawberries.
Prepare the pound cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper: Butter the paper and lightly dust the pan with flour.
Whisk the eggs, milk, zest and vanilla in a small bowl.
Briefly mix the flour, sugar, coriander, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer to blend. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture and beat for 1 minute to aerate. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
Transfer to a rack, pierce the top of the cake with the skewer, and brush the top of the cake with some of the syrup. Cool for 10 minutes, and then turn the cake out onto the rack. Pierce the sides and bottom of the cake with the skewer and brush with more of the syrup. Cool completely. (The flavors will develop as the cake cools.)
Before serving, prepare the garnishes. Toss the strawberries and the 2 tablespoons syrup in a bowl. Beat the cream, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
To serve, cut the pound cake into 3/4-inch slices. Spoon some of the strawberries over the cake. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with orange zest.
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