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Neapolitan pound cake

This pound cake brings together three classic flavors, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, all in one bite. I have always loved pound cake, and I love the idea of incorporating different flavors into this delicious and buttery dessert.

I do recommend using a hand or stand mixer for this recipe, but it comes together in a pinch. After combining your wet ingredients with a mixer, you'll fold in your dry ingredients by hand to make sure not to over mix. Then you'll divide the batter into three portions - one will remain vanilla, one will turn strawberry, and one will become chocolate. For this reason, make sure you have extra medium bowls on hand, as well as additional spoons or spatulas.


For the chocolate section the only additional ingredient you'll need is cocoa powder. Since we want a deep chocolate flavor, I recommend a dutch processed cocoa powder (my favorites are from Guittard and Valrhona.)


For the strawberry section, your extra ingredient is freeze dried strawberry. I used the brand Crispy Green for my freeze dried strawberries and they make snack sized bags that have just the right amount for this recipe, 12 grams! I love freeze dried strawberries because they bring a beautiful color and flavor and are so easy to keep on hand.


This recipe calls for cake flour rather than all purpose flour. I know it's an extra ingredient to purchase, but it really makes a difference in creating a tender cake. It's also an ingredient you can find easily at your local grocery store, so don't worry about having to make a trip to a specialty shop. I have not tried this myself, but many trustworthy bakers (like Sally's Baking Addiction) say there is an easy substitute for cake flour using all purpose flour and cornstarch.


Another important ingredient in pound cake is butter. If you're in the mood to splurge I would recommend using a European style butter like Plugra, though any unsalted butter will work great!


For the icing, first thing is first - it is of course completely optional, and totally customizable. For this recipe I chose to do two kinds, a chocolate and a strawberry. I think this brings out the flavors in the cake so nicely and it gives it a more interesting look too. You could always opt for just one flavor if you have a preference and do a drizzle or a full glaze, or you could stick with a classic vanilla glaze instead (skip the strawberry and cocoa, and add in a small amount of vanilla extract.) You really can't go wrong, though I do recommend the finishing touch of the icing.


I used this 8.5 x 4.5 inch pan by OXO. I recommend using a metal pan like this rather than a glass pan. If you have a 9 x 5 inch pan that will work too, you just may need to reduce the cook time by about 5 minutes.

When it's time to add your batter to your loaf pan you have endless options for your design. I highly recommend using a scooper to add your batter in so that you have more control, and you can do this with your batter divided by flavor (like you see on the left) or you can create a marbled effect (like you see on the right). Before your pound cake goes into the oven, regardless of how you layered your flavors, you'll want to swirl your batter using a knife, tap the pan on a hard surface to release any air bubbles, and then lightly smooth the top of your batter.


One last note on carbs for my fellow diabetics before we get to the recipe. The icing doesn't all "stay" on the loaf because a portion of it drips down and off the sides and some is left behind in the bowl which can make it a bit complicated for calculating the carbs. Because the loaf is cut into 8 or 12 slices it doesn't make a huge difference once you divide it into carbs per slice, but to be safe, I'll provide the carb count in a few different ways. You'll find the carbs for the complete recipe, the total amount for just the icing and just the cake, as well as for the full recipe with my best guess on the amount of icing that remains on the cake (about 3/4 of the icing). One tip you could try as well if you'd like to be REALLY exact, is to quickly measure your prepared icing before you drizzle it onto your loaf. Then, you can measure the icing that falls off of the loaf once it sets and do the math as to how much did remain on your loaf. If I do that myself at some point, I'll update the recipe with my findings!


Ingredients: Pound cake

  • 2 sticks (one cup) unsalted butter at room temperature 226g

  • 1 cup granulated sugar 192g

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar 24g

  • 2 large eggs + one yolk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup sour cream 56g

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour 168g

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder 20g

  • 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberry (measured whole) 9g

Icing

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar 90g

  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon crushed, freeze dried strawberry 3g

  • 1-2 tablespoons water (or milk)

Note: It is important that your butter, eggs, and sour cream are all at room temperature. Also, it will be easier to separate your one egg yolk when it's cold, so I recommend doing that straight from the fridge and then letting your yolk and two eggs come to room temperature.


Total time: 4-5 hours including chill time Prep time: About 30 minutes Bake time: 55 minutes Chill time: 2-3 hours

Equipment:

  • 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan

  • Hand mixer, or stand mixer with paddle attachment

  • Spatula (recommend multiple, or additional spoons)

  • Small, medium, and large bowls

  • Optional: medium/large cookie scoops, food scale


Cooking instructions: If you haven't yet, remove your butter from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Take your eggs and sour cream out as well at least 30 minutes before starting. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

If you plan to use a scale to divide your batter (I highly recommend this method), be sure to weigh your bowl and take note of the weight for later.

Place your butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar into a large bowl if using a hand mixer (or into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment secured.) Bring your mixer slowly from a low to high speed and allow it to combine the butter and sugars completely as the color of your butter lightens. If you see any butter pockets, pause your mixer, use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mixer attachment, then turn your mixer back on for another minute. Add one egg at a time, mixing to fully combine at a low to medium speed, adding the next egg and your extra yolk only once the previous one has been fully mixed in. Continue to mix until your eggs and extra yolk have been added and fully incorporated. Now add in your vanilla extract and sour cream and turn your mixer back on at a low speed to start, then up to a medium to high speed until your vanilla and sour cream are both fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of your bowl again, and your mixer attachment and give it a mix for another minute if you need to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. Next, add in your cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Use your spatula to fold your dry ingredients in until a smooth batter has just formed.


Now it's time to divide your batter into three portions in separate bowls. I like to do this by weight (about 255-260 grams per portion) or it's three portions of about 1 cup each. For your three sections:

  1. Vanilla: this portion stays just as is

  2. Strawberry: crush your freeze dried strawberry to a powder, and using a clean spatula or spoon, add and fold in until this portion of batter is evenly colored pink

  3. Chocolate: using a clean spatula or spoon, fold in 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder until evenly incorporated into your batter

Grab your 8.5 x 4.5 inch pan, use your butter paper or any extra butter to grease the bottom and sides of your pan, and line it with parchment paper. It's great to cover all four sides (using two sheets) but it should at least cover the long sides and just hang over the top edges of your pan - this will make it easy for removal later. You have plenty of options for design with your three flavors of batter. If you want even portions of flavor in every slice - first, add in your chocolate batter lining about half of your loaf pan on the long side. Then, add your strawberry to the other side of your pan - you'll now see side by side long lines of chocolate and strawberry batter. Finally, add your vanilla batter to the center of the strawberry and chocolate batter. Lift your loaf pan up and tap it onto your counter to release any air pockets. Smooth your batter down carefully, using different or clean utensils for each flavor, and then I like to use a knife or a sharp utensil to swirl the batter. If you want more of a marbled effect throughout, you can instead scoop the flavors sporadically, smooth out and then swirl, and this method will leave you with different amounts of flavor for each slice.

Place your pan into the 350 degree oven for about 55 minutes. (I recommend checking at about 50 minutes.) You'll know it's done when there is a crack down the center and the rest of the top is golden brown. It may look slightly damp in the center. That is okay, but it should not look wet. Another way to check that it is completely baked is that it shouldn't jiggle much when you shake the pan. Once you remove your cake from the oven, place it onto a cooling rack if you have one. After 15-20 minutes, carefully remove your cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely. To speed this up, you can also place your cake into the fridge. Once your cake is cool to the touch, about 1-2 hours, make your drizzle topping. For this you'll need two small bowls.


Divide your powdered sugar between the two bowls. Into one, add cocoa powder, and in the other add your crushed, freeze dried strawberry. Add a small pinch of salt to both bowls. For each, using a clean, small utensil (I like to use small forks) add water starting with 2 teaspoons in each bowl. Stir and add more water slowly if needed until you reach your desired consistency - it should be thin enough to pour but you want to be careful not to add too much water especially if you want the drizzle lines like shown in the photos.


If your cake is on a cooling rack, you can put the rack on top of a sheet pan or another easy to clean surface as some of the icing will drip off of the cake. With a fork or spoon for each flavor, drizzle your icing over your cake however you'd like.

Allow your icing to set for at least 15 minutes, though I like to give my cake another hour or so to continue cooling, and then slice and enjoy! If you notice your icing isn't setting, you can place your cake into the fridge to speed up the process. I think this cake tastes best once it's fully cooled, so give it time before diving in.

Slicing and storage guidance I like to slice my cake into 12 slices. I do this by cutting it in half, then cutting each half in half to create four sections, then three slices for each quarter of the loaf. You can also do eight slices if you want thicker slices. I recommend enjoying your cake within the first few days for the best taste and texture, and it will stay freshest in an airtight container in the fridge. If the cake feels hard at all or has been in the fridge, put the slice you plan to enjoy in the microwave for 5-10 seconds per side and it will bring it back to life. If you don't plan to enjoy the cake the same day, you can also wait to slice (or even to ice it), which will help to keep the cake fresh. You can also absolutely freeze your pound cake. You can do this before or after you add the icing. My preference is to slice and individually wrap the pieces and freeze them in a plastic bag or other airtight container, and then you can allow the frozen slices to defrost in the fridge (or microwave a slice) whenever a craving strikes.

Carb and serving info: Servings: 8 or 12 slices Carbs for full recipe: 491 Carbs per serving (1 of 12): 41 Carbs per serving (1 of 8): 61 Carbs for icing only: 95 Carbs per slice no icing (1 of 12): 33 Carbs per slice no icing (1 of 8): 50 Carbs for full recipe with 3/4 of the icing: 467

This accounts for icing spilling off the cake

Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.

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