Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Brown Sugar Pound Cake/Piloncillo Bread

Don't you love when a bad situation has a happy ending? Let me tell you about my baking blunder.

A few posts back, I spoke of my friend, Daniela, who hails from Mexico. She has introduced me to some knock-your-socks-off Mexican recipes, like Calabaza en Tacha and Tres Leches Cake. Problem is, when she makes treats as such, it's usually from ingredients her parents brought from home and I can't get locally. Boo.

Daniela brought her kiddies over the other day for a playdate and thoughtfully brought along 2 bags of piloncillo granulado. Piloncillo is basically Mexico's version of brown sugar, but it's very hard in texture with a much stronger molasses flavor than the brown sugar used in the US or Canada. It's also most often sold in cone or block form. This stuff is so versatile and so good!

My intention was to make the pound cake and crush the piloncillo pellets into the batter so as it bakes, it will leave each bite with a lovely punch of flavor.

When I realized it was too tedious to cut all these pellets into pieces (and waaaay too hard to crush with my bare hands), I pulled out the food processor, thinking I was smart and saving some time. Uh….no. Those little buggers actually broke the blade off! *Sigh*.

Not to be defeated, I decided to melt the pellets down to a syrup like they do when making Tacha and just add it to the batter for an all over unique flavor.


It was amazing! I made a sauce with the last bit of syrup that was left in the pan. It was OVER THE TOP delicious! It's a bit like Sticky Toffee Pudding, but without the use of dates.

I love happy accidents.

My food processor does not.

Recipe adapted and slightly modified from Martha Stewart

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups brown sugar, packed
5 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup of piloncillo syrup (You can substitute 1 cup dark brown sugar and 3 teaspoons molasses to get a comparable flavor of the piloncillo)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour two 8x4 loaf pans. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time until well combined. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternate flour mixture and buttermilk to egg mixture and blend well. Fold in piloncillo syrup.

Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for about an hour. Cool 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely.

Serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream or for a richer treat, drizzle with piloncillo toffee sauce.

To make piloncillo toffee sauce, boil the remainder of piloncillo to a paste.

Mix 1 cup paste, 1 cup heavy cream and 3 tablespoons butter. Whisk until fully incorporated and thick.

Happy Baking!