Sometimes there are things in life that seem to follow you around. Needling, restless things that haunt your brain.
Like, last week, I ran into the biggest spider I have ever seen in our bathtub. Normal sized spiders FREAK ME OUT, but this one was abnormal. It was the size of my palm and it’s legs stretched over the edges of the drain. It was a monster…and the memory of it is haunting me. I can’t stop thinking about it and I’m sure it’s friends are lurking somewhere in my home. Big sigh.
Pound cake is something else that has haunted me…for years! I have made pound cake after pound cake and none of them have turned out. Either they sink in the center, come out way to dense and wet, or just lack flavor. I want the perfect crumb and flavor–dense while still being light, buttery, and better after resting a day or two.
I found this pound cake recipe via Orangette. Not only is it the perfect texture, it comes with a heavy sprinkling of hazelnuts, my favorite–the original recipe call for pistachios, which I believe would make one special cake. So, even though I am still haunted by the spider encounter, I can get over my pound cake issue… finally.
Hazelnut Pound Cake
Adapted from Orangette
The original recipe calls for citrus zest, which I left out, but I think this version would be lovely with some orange zest.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons half & half or whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and chopped coarsely
Preheat the oven to 325*F. Spray a 9x5x3 inch pan with cooking spray and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on two edges.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or with electric beaters, beat butter until creamy and light, 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat to incorporate, 1-2 more minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, to incorporate well, scraping the bowl as needed. Add extracts and half&half and beat to combine. Fold in the flour mixture and 1/2 of the hazelnuts. Scrape batter into the prepared pan, smooth top and sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts. Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 1/2 hours (I started checking it at about 60 minutes). Remove from oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. Can be kept, wrapped in plastic at room temperature, for a week.