2 cups sifted cake flour
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground mace (optional)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease and flour one 9 x 5-inch (8-cup) loaf pan or line the bottom with wax paper or parchment paper.
Whisk together in a medium bowl the eggs, vanilla, and any optional flavorings.
In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy (about 30 seconds). Gradually add sugar and salt. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 3 to 5 minutes.
Gradually dribble in the egg mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the flour in 3 parts, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Slide a thin knife around the cake to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake and peel off the paper liner, if using. Let cool right-side-up on the rack.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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