I am unmoored, adrift on an alien sea without a recognizable land mass in sight. I’m anxious, a bit panicked even, scanning the horizon for a hint of familiarity, only to be met with unending waves of strangeness. I’m utterly lost and unsure how to be Julie during these times.
Until recently, the reality of the daily consequences of this pandemic somehow didn’t leave its mark upon me. Sure, my life was inconvenienced, but never changed beyond recognition. Last week, however, something shifted and I’ve been going through the unease that everyone else faced months ago. It’s disconcerting to be in this untethered mode while the rest of the world has moved past these initial discomforts and are now humming along nicely within this state of the “new normal.”
Nothing feels normal.
The only time my footing becomes sure is within the confines of my kitchen, when all else fades away and my mind becomes firmly focused on baking, like this tender pound cake just waiting for some fresh summer berries and a dollop of whipped cream.
Julie’s Pound Cake
This recipe requires a bundt pan and results in a tender version of the well-known classic.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325⁰ F. Butter and flour bundt pan. Stir together flour, salt, cream of tartar and cardamom. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add sugar. Return speed to high and continue beating for about 7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, blending completely between each addition. It is helpful to add a tablespoon of the flour with each egg to stop the batter from curdling. Beat in yogurt and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
- Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
*Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine.