To put it simply: Who doesn't have a serious case of cake love?
One other reason to bake a cake? "Decorate with your kids at home," said Buddy Valastro, an award-winning cake designer and father of three. "Hey listen, if it comes out lousy, you can still eat it. And the kids'll never forget that time."
Cream cheese pound cake
Prep: 40 minutes
Bake: 50 minutes
Makes: 16 servings
Note: This is adapted from "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro's basic pound cake. The cake can be decorated as you like or served simply with citrus-glazed fruit.
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 1/3 cups cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Citrus-glazed fruit, see recipe, optional
Whipped cream, optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in 1 3/4 cups of the sugar until smooth; beat in flour and vanilla on low speed until batter has a dry, crumbly appearance. Add yolks, one at a time, beating each until incorporated. Clean beaters.
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into batter; repeat twice. Pour batter into buttered and floured 10-inch Bundt pan. Bake until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto cake rack; cool completely. Decorate as desired, or serve with citrus-glazed fruit and whipped cream.
Citrus-glazed fruit: Mix 1 cup each sugar and water plus grated zest of one lemon in a small saucepan; cook over low heat until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly. Cut enough fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, for example) to make about 3 cups. Place fruit in bowl; pour glaze over fruit.
Per serving: 329 calories, 46% of calories from fat, 17 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 122 mg cholesterol, 40 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 62 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.
From decorating tools to classes to how-to online videos, here are a few helpful Web sites:
• "Ace of Cakes": Food Network's Duff Goldman's team creates a cake "Viking ship," wedding cakes, offering inspiration. foodnetwork .com/ace-of-cakes/index .html
• "Cake Boss": Videos of old-school piping (TLC-TV's Buddy Valastro goes swag crazy) and decorative roses, etc. tlc.discovery.com/tv/ cake-boss/cake-boss. html
• Rose Levy Beranbaum: Cake cookbook whiz's blog plus instructional videos on lacquer glaze and more. realbakingwithrose. com
• Wilton Industries: The "Decorating 101" page is especially instructive. Want to mix mauve, plum or lavender tinted frosting? Check out the color chart. wilton.com
"Rose's Heavenly Cakes," by Rose Levy Beranbaum
For the love of cake
Elegant treat will feed into everyone's sweet obsession
Americans love to have their cake and eat it too. (Chicago Tribune/Bill Hogan)