March 27, 2009

Two Spoonfuls: The Creaming Method

Hey there, I'm back this week with Alton Brown to tell you about The Creaming Method (you'll remember that I've been working my way through "I'm Just Here for More Food"). This method refers to that wonderfully vague phrase you see in tons of recipes, "cream until light and fluffy". This is one of those phrases that always gets me a little nervous. What exactly does that mean, "light and fluffy"? hmmm? Well, Alton is here to help us out. In a nutshell, here's how it goes:

  • Measure all ingredients. Fats should be "pliable but solid". You want soft butter, no signs of melting.
  • Combine dry ingredients (except sugar) and give them a whirl in the food processor.
  • Beat eggs together along with any extracts.
  • Using your stand mixer on medium with the paddle attachment, mix the fats a bit to spread them around the bowl. Then, slowly add the sugar and beat until the mixture lightens in color and increases slightly in volume.
  • Reduce speed to stir and add the egg mixture, slowly. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed.
  • Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, alternating with liquids. Ending with the liquid will give you a smoother batter.
  • stir in any chocolate chips or nuts etc.
  • Bake
So, that's the basic method. I learned quite a few little tidbits in this chapter. First, Alton went through some great ways to prepare your pan for baking.

I whipped up a batch of AB's Kustom Kitchen Lube before I got started on my Chocolate Pound Cake. It's just a blend of flour and shortening that can be used to grease baking pans. No more grease and flour for me. Yay! Thanks, Alton.

Alton suggests mixing the eggs together first when baking, "so that the water in the egg whites can hook up with the emulsifiers in the yolks". They'll absorb faster into the batter.

I'm a slave to the food processor now, I love to use it in place of sifting. I don't miss that kitchen gadget one bit. All of my dry ingredients went for a spin together.

I followed Alton's recipe for Chocolate Pound Cake. Nick gave it two thumbs up, for me it was just okay. I think I expected it to be a little sweeter (3 cups of sugar!) and a little more chocolatey. I'm not a great baker though, I probably did something wrong. Anyway, it's good and there's a ton of it. Ayone want to come over for a sample?

Want to try a pound cake recipe?
What is a pound cake?
Check out what Wikipedia has to say about it.


Something tells me that Jenn is making something that might not go with my cake, let's see what she's up to.


LeeAnn said...

I have pound cake on the brain. In a recent swap I got sent homemade raspberry jam. So for Easter I plan on making a lemon/raspberry pound cake. I have still have to find a recipe though!

PS. We just got in contact with a realtor and got our pre-approval for a morgage! Yay!

Jenn Maruska said...

I don't know - I think chocolate pound cake goes well with anything!

Great post - I'm going to try making that flour/shortening combo - that's a great idea.

(P.S. hee hee - my word verification word is "Tater"!)

jessica said...

Mmmm...I have those same plates, but I think I am definitely more interested in what is on it!

Junie Moon said...

I've seen the very phrase you describe and appreciate your sharing how to do it properly.

LizzieJane said...

I think everyone is making pound cake right now... how funny.
Thank you for the how to photos it is so nice to see what cook books are trying to describe.

Anonymous said...