Mastering the Art of French Cooking changed the way the world cooked. A more recent collection of recipes, Julia Child & Company, the companion to her 1978 PBS television series, changed the way I cook. In this book, Julia presented French-inspired recipes for American-style entertaining. From coulibiac to corned beef hash, to a chicken melon ball that nearly defeated my husband Ted and me on a weekend cooking date many years ago, Julia encouraged us to try new menus for all occasions.
For this occasion, a celebration of her 100th birthday on August 15, I wanted to bake a cake. Not a fancy French gateau, just a simple cake, and Julia herself came to the rescue with a recipe in JC&Co for a chocolate chip spice pound cake, flavored with mace and vanilla, and made with a combination of white and brown sugars. The first time my friends Bev, Christine and I made this cake, we followed Julia's instructions to the letter. When I made it again, I combined Julia's flavorings with the recipe for Lorna's sour cream cake, and I liked the result even better than the original. Here's my version, an homage to Julia, right down to the plating in my photographs, as you can see on page 212 in the book. Bon anniversaire, Julia. (Be sure to check the PBS Julia Child page for more blogger tributes.)
Chocolate chip spice pound cake
2 cups + 1 tsp all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/4 lb (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. (Note: if using a ceramic pan, do not preheat the oven.) Spray the inside of a small (5-cup) Bundt pan or loaf pan with baking spray, place it on a baking sheet, and set aside. A tip Lorna shared: if you're using a Bundt pan, roll a small piece of parchment paper, an inch or so taller than the pan; place the pan on a sheet pan, and insert the parchment paper in the hole. If the cake rises above the top of the pan, it won't slide down in the center.
In a mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups of flour, plus the baking powder, baking soda and mace.
In the bowl of a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer, cream together the butter, both sugars, and the eggs, until smooth and a bit fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Add to the egg mixture, alternating, the dry ingredients and sour cream, just until all are combined.
In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chips with the remaining 1 teaspoon of flour. Gently stir into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.
Bake at 350F for 45 minutes (if using a ceramic pan, place the pan on a baking sheet in a cold oven, set to 350F, and bake for 60 minutes), or until a tester comes out clean.
Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert the pan and remove the cake. Let it cool completely. Serve, or wrap and freeze.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Meyer lemon whipping cream pound cake, from Cooking On the Side
Banana chocolate chip cake, from Pittsburgh Needs Eated
Easy lighter homemade pound cake from scratch, from Simple Nourished Living
Banana cookies, from Simply Recipes
Chocolate orange cream cheese pound cake, from Joy the Baker
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