Friday, January 29, 2016

Hibiscus Swirl Pound Cake

During the winter holiday season, I like to have something ready to serve friends who might stop by. This pound cake keeps well, as all pound cakes do, and can be dressed up with a glaze, a beautiful garnish, a drizzle of syrup, or a splash of whipped cream.

I use Hibiscus Flower Extracts here, from the Wild Hibiscus Flower Company, who were kind enough to send some to me for recipe development. It gives a faint pink color (which I have enhanced with food dye) and a lovely subtle flavor. To form a beautiful and edible garnish, I rolled preserved Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup in granulated sugar, and let them dry for several hours.

Hibiscus Swirl Pound Cake
by Maurita Plouff
Blogging at Get the Good Stuff!
One 9 x 5 loaf

5 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extra
1 teaspoon wild hibiscus flower extract
Pink or red food dye, optional

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan.

Warm the eggs: Place the uncracked eggs in a bowl, and pour hot water over them. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.

Combine flour and salt, and sift them together onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Put the butter in a large mixing bowl, and beat until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the sugar, beating constantly, until the mixture is well blended. Crack the warmed eggs into the batter, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Continue beating, as you gradually sprinkle in the flour mixture, and continue to beat until the batter is smooth and well blended.

Remove about half the batter to a separate bowl. Into the remaining batter, add 1 teaspoon wild hibiscus extract, and beat well. If you wish, add food dye to make a pleasing shade.

Put both batters in the prepared pan, alternating large spoonfuls, until all the batter has been added. Swirl a long-bladed table knife through the batter in a random pattern, mixing the two colors around a bit.

Smooth the top of the cake with a rubber spatula. Bake at 325°F about an hour, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, place the pan on a rack, and let cool at least 15 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan and cool it completely on the rack.

Wrap well to store the cake.

Pink Hibiscus Glaze:

Note: Glaze cake at serving time; the cake stores better unglazed.

1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoon milk
3/4 teaspoon wild hibiscus flower extract

Sift confectioners sugar. Add melted butter, milk and extract; beat until smooth and creamy. Add more milk drop by drop if needed until desired texture is achieved. Pour over cooled cake.

Sugared Hibiscus Flower Garnish:

Put about 1/2 cup granulated sugar on a plate. Gently take hibiscus flower(s) out of the jar, shaking bits of syrup off. Roll the flower in granulated sugar, coating both outside and inside petals. Let stand several hours.

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