Rainbow Sherbet Inspired Pound Cake
One of my favorite summer-time treats is rainbow sherbet. I just think the “fruit” flavor is more refreshing than ice cream and the colors are simply fabulous. As the weather turned 99 and humid I was day-dreaming about rainbow sherbet when I had a rather strange idea. I’ve been wanting to make pound cake, how would the flavors of sherbet translate into a pound cake? Now not all of my kitchen experiments go this well but let’s just say there was not a crumb left of this cake.
So obviously there is some food coloring involved to get those rather bright summery colors but what’s a little food coloring now and then among friends. The pound cake base is a cream cheese pound cake recipe adapted from one of my favorite baking books that bakes up with an amazing top crust I’m known to just pick off and eat. I divided the batter into three parts to create the raspberry, orange and lime layers. Where I failed was the recipe makes enough for a 10 inch tube pan, I forgot that I wanted to scale it down for a loaf pan so I had some extra batter and had to play with the cooking time (which was forever by the way) so I’ve kept it at the original tube pan amount for now until I can completely tweak it. Once it was done though the flavors were perfect. This cake is dense but very moist and has great flavor that is not too sweet. It’s the kind of cake where if you’re not paying attention you could easily eat half of it without realizing (which is why the pictures are rather plain-I never got the chance to “properly” plate and dress it!).
Rainbow Sherbet Inspired Pound Cake
Yields 12-16 servings
Adapted from the All-Butter, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds Barred Baking book
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups cake flour, sifted
2/3 cup frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
zest of 1 orange
small squeeze of juice (about a teaspoon or so)
zest of 2 limes
juice of half a lime
1/2-3/4 teaspoon each of pink, orange, and green gel food coloring, optional
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Grease a 10-inch tube pan with butter and set aside.
Sift the cake flour into a small bowl and set aside.
2. Cream the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed (or standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment…wouldn’t that be nice) for 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy about another 2 minutes. Periodically scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, blending for about 10-15 seconds between each addition.
5. Stir the flour in gently with the rubber spatula just until mixed in and then mix on low speed until fully incorporated and smooth.
6. Divide the batter equally into 3 medium mixing bowls. In the first bowl stir in pink food coloring until no streaks remain, then fold in the raspberries gently. In the second bowl stir in orange food coloring, orange zest and a small squeeze of juice from the orange until fully incorporated and no streaks remain. In the third bowl stir in the green food coloring, lime zest and lime juice until fully incorporated and no streaks remain.
7. Layer the batters into the prepared pan, smoothing the tops between each layer. Bake on the center oven rack for about 1 hour and 35 minutes or until the cake is golden and firm and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake too cool completely in pan before unmolding and serving.