I saw this pound cake over at Caitlin's site, Engineer Baker, a few weeks ago. She gave it rave reviews and it looked absolutely delicious so I was intrigued. I checked to see if my library had the book the recipe came from, The Sweet Spot by Pichet Ong. They did, so I requested it and before long I was home flipping through the book. There are a ton of really unique recipes in the book and I hope to try a few more before I have to get this book back to the library. Some of the recipes do require ingredients that are a bit unusual, but there's a great "pantry" section at the beginning of the book explaining where to find them or substitutions that will work in a pinch.
I set out to make the pound cake first, based on Caitlin's reviews and photos, and because it allowed me to use one of the vanilla beans Shane's parents brought back from their recent trip to Egypt! This recipe uses only a food processor to make the batter for the cake, which I can't recall ever having done before. It was fun and easy though it did make me nervous about the possibility of overworking the batter. My cake was done baking in almost exactly one hour and then I sat waiting for it to cool so I could try it. Caitlin was spot on - this is wonderful pound cake! I agree wholeheartedly with her review - the cake is dense but doesn't feel heavy at all. In fact, despite the tight crumb, the first word that came to mind when I tried the cake was "pillowy" (which may or may not be an actual word) :) I shared the cake with my family and they felt the same way. Caitlin enjoyed her cake with jam and I put a scoop of Ben & Jerry's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream on top so I think it's safe to say the cake can be enjoyed any time of day! You'll definitely want to give this one a shot.
Condensed Milk Pound Cake
from The Sweet Spot: Asian-Inspired Desserts, by Pichet Ong and Genevieve Ko
1 cup (8 oz, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (7 oz) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (3 3/4 oz) sugar
1 vanilla bean, chopped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (8 1/2 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
Sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside. Put the sugar and the chopped vanilla bean, if using, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until the vanilla bean is finely ground and then sift the sugar/bean mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, returning the mixture to the food processor afterward. (If you aren't using the vanilla bean put only the sugar in the bowl of the food processor at this point.)
Add the butter and salt to the food processor. Process until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then add the condensed milk and pulse until well incorporated, about 15 times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the dry ingredients and pulse until no traces of the flour remain, about 10 times. Add the eggs and pulse just until combined, about 5 times. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it now.) Finish mixing by hand to fully incorporate the ingredients.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a tested inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool completely in the loaf pan on a rack.