Since starting this blog about six weeks ago, I've been using it as an excuse to buy new kitchen/bakeware products that I've always wanted. This includes some new cake plates, a bundt cake pan, a set of offset spatulas to help with frosting cakes, etc. etc. Furthermore, with me being in charge of the desserts at my sister's upcoming wedding, I've been taking it as an opportunity to trade in my hand-me-down mismatched cake pans and upgrading to a set that hopefully will allow me to bake level and identical cake layers.
One product that I recently purchased was a digital kitchen scale. Any good baker knows that weighing ingredients in either grams or ounces is the most efficient and accurate way when baking. But being in America where we don't use the metric system and measure our ingredients not by weight but rather by volume, we've just become accustomed to not using a scale.
The kitchen scale not only helps with the obvious aspect of properly measuring out ingredients - with flour at the forefront of ingredients that most bakers do not successfully measure out when using cups - but it also helps with dividing up batter for layered cakes. When I found out I would be baking my sister's wedding cake I decided to buy a kitchen scale. In the past, I would always eyeball the batter when dividing it between cake pans, mostly because I was just making a simple birthday cake and it wasn't that important to be identical, but the layers absolutely need to be perfect for a wedding cake.
This brings me to this very, very good pound cake. This past weekend I was scrolling through saved recipes on my computer when I came across this one. I love a simple pound cake and I especially love one that can be customized to whichever flavors you decide to choose that day. When I noticed that two of the ingredients (flour and sour cream) were given in ounces and not cups, I knew I had to test out my kitchen scale. The results were perfect, and I am going to safely say that I believe it is due to the scale... I read through the 60 or so comments on the recipe and it seems that those who didn't use the scale ended up having trouble with the recipe (or just had trouble in general).
With that said, if you do not own a scale, I would suggest being very careful when measuring out your flour and sour cream - do not forget to properly spoon and level when measuring. But if you have no desire to go out and buy a scale, I provide measurements for both ingredients in cups.
Also, if you aren't a huge fan of the combination of orange and chocolate, have no fear, you can take each of these ingredients out and either just have a plain pound cake (with whipped cream and strawberries) or you can substitute with nuts, dried cranberries, fresh berries, etc. You're the one baking here so you have the power to add whatever you want to it!
Chocolate Chunk and Orange Pound Cake
Makes 1 bundt cake or 2 (9x5) loaves
Recipe adapted from Jodi Rhoden via Food52
Cooking spray or butter (for the pan)
3 cups sugar (plus more for the pan)
Zest of 3 large oranges
14.4 oz. (2 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp.) all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 large eggs, room temperature
10 oz. (1 1/4 cups) sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (mixed with 1 tbsp. of flour)
Confectioners' sugar, to finish (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease your bundt pan or loaf pans with cooking spray or butter, and coat the pan with a layer of sugar (much like you do with greasing and flouring a pan). Tap out the excess sugar.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In an another bowl, using your hands or a whisk, massage/mix the sugar and orange zest together until fragrant (this helps release the oils in the zest) and add to the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment (or you can use a hand mixer). Add the butter, and cream together until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides.
Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix. Scrape down the sides again.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix until the batter is smooth, but do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips or chunks with a spatula. *Reminder that the chocolate is tossed with 1 tbsp. of flour to prevent it from sinking to the bottom while baking.
Pour the batter into your desired cake pan. If using a bundt pan, do not fill the cavity more than 2/3 full, to avoid the cake spilling out. If you have enough leftover batter, you can make cupcakes or even a single 6in. cake.
Bake in the oven for just about 1 hour, or until a small serrated knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the pan to cool for 10 minutes before turning the cake out. Dust with confectioners' sugar (if using) and enjoy!