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Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Servings: 10-12
This buttery pound cake gets its pleasant crunch from cornmeal and its rich aroma from brown sugar. You can make the cake the day before serving and store it at room temperature, or up to a month in advance, put it in waxed paper and a zippered plastic bag, and freeze it.

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour one 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan or two 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. (If any cornmeal remains in the sifter, just stir it in.) In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and vanilla and almond extracts.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed until lightened, 4-5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the cornmeal mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the sour cream mixture in 2 batches, beginning and ending with the cornmeal mixture.

In another bowl, with spotlessly clean beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff but not dry. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 70-90 minutes. Invert the cake(s) on a wire rack, turn right side up, and let cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma American Christmas
Date: February 9, 2005