This past week I had a birthday. I’m now 32 years old.
Last year, when I turned 31, I was still on my hiatus from blogging, but every year before then, I had a tradition of ‘celebrating’ my birthday on the blog that’s a carry over from my ‘real life’:
I bake myself a birthday cake.
I’ve mentioned it here before that even in the pre-Covid days, as an introvert, I wasn’t much of a celebrator of ‘My’ day. For many years, it’s just passed with little fanfare or fuss. And I’m okay with that.
But I do take the time and effort to make sure that if I don’t have anything else on my birthday, I have cake. A good cake.
And to be perfectly honest, if I want a really good cake, I typically prefer to rely on the girl in the mirror.
My preferences for birthday cakes have varied over the years, and usually it just ends up being a casual decision that I make on the fly depending upon what me and my taste buds are in the mood for.
It may have been a number of things that swayed me in the particular direction of today’s recipe for my 32nd birthday.
My taste for desserts nowadays that aren’t overly sweet. My increased want for simplicity in baking that lets simple ingredients shine with their simple but delicious flavor. Or, it could’ve just been that my schedule is somewhat hectic nowadays and I just didn’t have time to do a three layer cake over the course of two days.
Regardless of the reason, I’d say the results turned out pretty tasty.
This really was the only kind of birthday cake that I wanted this year; a simple, golden slice of pound cake, and a side of sweet & tart fruit to eat with it. The ‘side’ of fruit turned out to be a strawberry-raspberry compote that comes very quickly and easily.
I love several things about this: first, even though it’s a pound cake, it’s not overly sweet. If you’ve made them before, you’ll probably notice that 1 cup of sugar isn’t the norm where most pound cake recipes are concerned. But I actually thought that worked out for the best, especially when the cake is paired with the compote, which is sweet, but also tart, which balances out the flavors wonderfully.
Pound Cake and Strawberry-Raspberry Compote
- 16 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temp
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk, room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 container (10 ounces) fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 containers (6 ounces each) fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan
In a large bowl, with a handheld mixer, or in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until very light.
Beat in the sugar gradually and then the eggs, one by one. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and extracts.
Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Stir to combine after each addition.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. (I had extra batter leftover; about 1/2 cup’s worth. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if your loaf pan is not deep enough to fit all the batter, DO NOT OVERFILL IT. Overflowed cake batter in the oven is a PAIN to clean up. Just let the excess go.)
Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes, until it springs back when pressed lightly in on top, and a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. If the cake appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.
Remove the cake from the oven, and loosen its edges. Wait 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool
For Compote: Bring strawberries, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced to 3/4 a cup. (You can check the consistency by examining how it sticks to the back of a spoon after you’ve stirred it.)
Let cool completely before refrigerating.
Sharing at Fiesta Friday #400, hosted this week by Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons.