Monday, February 27, 2012

No Loafing Around: Daring Bakers 2012 Challenge

Yeah, it has been awhile since I have participated in a daring bakers challenge.  I do log in every month and view the challenge, print out the recipe, and start thinking of flavor combinations.  Then life, work, and other responsibilities take over and I just do not have time.  This month’s challenge was all about being time efficient.  This month’s challenge was quick breads.

Quick breads are bread that is quick to make because it does not require kneading or rising time.  That's because the leavener in such a bread is usually baking powder or baking soda, which, when combined with moisture, starts the rising process immediately.  In the case of double-acting baking powder, oven heat causes a second burst of rising power.  Eggs can also be used to leaven quick breads.  This genre includes most biscuits, muffins, popovers and a wide variety of sweet and savory loaf breads.

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

This month’s challenge was pretty open ended with only a few requirements: (1) No yeast allowed; (2) Preparation and baking time can take no longer than 1 hour; and (3) Only loaves, muffin, and popovers allowed.  I did not loaf around on accomplishing this challenge.  I thought it was something I could accomplish easily after a day of work and could try several different flavor combinations. 

The first loaf I completed was a Browned Butter Pound Cake Loaf with Rum Glaze on February 8, 2012.  (I was planning on making more than one type of loaf, but the month got away from me.  So, this is the first and only quick bread.)  This loaf turned out wonderfully.  The nutty smell of the browned butter while cooking was heavenly.  The smell was even more intoxicating while creaming the butter and sugar together.  The brown butter flecks spread throughout the loaf like little gold nuggets of yumminess.

My loaf pan was slightly bigger than the recipe called for and as a result, my cake did not rise properly in the center and actually caved in.  Taste great, looks horrible.  I would suggest using a smaller loaf pan and/or increasing the baking temperature from 325F to 350F.  Speaking of taste, the loaf has an amazing not to sweet flavor and the rum glaze paired with it nicely.  The rum alcohol taste in the glaze is strongest when first mixed and does dissipate as it sits overnight to harden.  Do not worry; no one will get tipsy or even slightly buzzed from your cake.  Now, if you serve it with a shot of rum on the side, then that is another story...

Browned Butter Pound Cake Loaf
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

2 1/4 Sticks of Butter (1 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
4 large
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Cake Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5 inches) with flour and butter (spray) and a piece of parchment paper running horizontally.

2. Heat butter of medium heat until the milk solid on the bottom of the pan turn brown to dark brown. Watch it closely because once it starts to take on color the change will happen quickly. You will also begin to notice a nutty smell. Place in a bowl and freeze for 15 minutes (stirring every once and a while) until it just starts to congeal.

3. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes with a stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating each one until fully incorporated. Add vanilla.

5. At a low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined. Do not over beat.

6. Pour batter in prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

7. Bake for approximately 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes before placing onto a cooling rack to cool completely, for at least on hour.

8. If glazing, whisk approximate 2 cups of powder sugar with rum. Add rum little by little until the desired consistence is achieved. For a whiter glaze add less rum. For a more transparent glaze add more rum. Pour glaze over the loaf over the cooling rake letting it run over the side and down the sides of the loaf. Leave for the glaze to harden.


  1. Bookmarking this. I so want to make that. Really awesome job.

  2. I love browned butter, the pound cake looks amazing!