Pecorino Half-Pound CakePosted: October 28, 2012
Boy, have I got a treat in store for you all this week!?
Now, I know how you love the sweet things – I see the page-view numbers plummet every time I post about something savoury and can almost HEAR the snores – and me, I loooooooooove the savoury. So in this eternal battle of sweet vs savoury, I believe I have come up with the ultimate recipe to please everyone!
A bold statement!
And also a fib! Because I didn’t just conjure this VISION of deliciousness from thin air – I was actually trying out a recipe that’s been on my ‘To Do’ list for YONKS! The Metrovino Parmesan Pound Cake – which I had seen mentioned on the Cooking Channel, or the Food Channel or somewhere. Intrigued by the use of Parmesan in what appeared to be a sweet cake, I foolishly didn’t write anything down at the time bar the name of the recipe. Luckily, Susan Bradley over at Luna Cafe had already begged the chef for the recipe and published it on her blog – Huzzah!
However…… things did not go smoothly – for I was half-way through the recipe this morning when I realised I hadn’t got a couple of the ingredients – after already changing the main ingredient for the Pecorino Romano I had in the fridge. Actually, this was the second attempt at this cake today – I must admit I was only half paying attention when going through the recipe and was a bit on auto-pilot: “Yeah, yeah, yeah – cream the sugar and butter – do the eggs – mix the flour….” and it was only when I turned round from putting the tin in the oven that I saw the sour cream and cream cheese still sitting on the work top. I blame the clocks going back. Anyhoo – THAT version turned out very bizarre – very sweet, spongy texture which did not sit well at ALL with the cheese.
But my second ‘make do’ attempt was much better, even though I had to bodge it a bit, onna count of not having any sour cream or creme fraiche – so I sloshed some lemon juice into some double cream and away we went! I also halved the recipe (always to be recommended when trying a recipe for the first time), reduced the amount of sugar, and finished it off with some strawberries in balsamic syrup. So apart from all THAT, it’s JUST like the original!
The flavour is definitely unusual, but in a good way! It’s a dense cake – but as my initial attempt admirably demonstrated to me, you don’t WANT this cake to be too ‘cakey’. Were I to make it again, I would either increase the amount of cheese or maybe even go full-Parm! But then I like cheese. If you’re at all unsure, but still curious, then this version might be the best choice. A little sweet, a little savoury, a little sharp, a little salty – what’s not to like?
Pecorino Half-Pound Cake with Balsamic Strawberries
140g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
85g Pecorino Romano cheese
pinch of salt
113g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
60g cream cheese
250ml double cream
Juice of 1 lemon
handful of strawberries
1-2 tbs icing sugar
60ml Balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven t 180°C, 160°C Fan.
- Line a baking tin with parchment. Any shape will do. I chose a rectangular 26cm x 20cm tin
- Mix the flour, cheese, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together for 5-10 minutes. There’s too much sugar for it to get really light and fluffy, but make sure they’re well mixed.
- Add the eggs one at a time and whisk thoroughly. The eggs will lighten the mix considerably if you beat each of them long enough.
- Cut the cream cheese into cubes and add to the mixture.
- Add the lemon juice to the double cream and stir well. Add cream to the cake mix.
- Slowly add the flour mix, one spoon at a time and make sure it is well mixed before adding more. By the time the last of the mixture is incorporated, the batter will resemble a regular cake mix.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
- Bake for between 35 and 40 minutes, until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin a little and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Leave cake in the tin for 10 minutes to firm up slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To serve: Trim the sides and then cut the cake into finger slices. Dust with icing sugar. Spoon over the strawberries and glaze.
- Balsamic Strawberries
- Cut the strawberries into quarters and sprinkle with the icing sugar.
- Leave for 15 minutes to allow the sugar to draw out the juices.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and stir gently.
- Use as required.
 A fabulously useful size, get one if you can.