February in Northern California means low season and it's one of our favorite times of the year to road trip. It's that one moment when you can hit Napa and have it all to yourself, hike into the redwoods and feel like their all yours, and skip down to Big Sur and see everything at its most lush and greenest, especially since we've had a few good rains the last few weeks. And when we road trip, we like to bring provisions; car snacks like poundcake so we can pull over at a vista and slice a piece and slather it with marmalade.
But even if we don't get away, we still make this Vanilla Poundcake with Quick Kumquat Thyme Marmalade because It's just as perfect as the end to your next dinner party, as a homemade hostess gift, or just toasted in the morning for a lazy winter breakfast in bed.
plus more for coating the pan
at room temperature, plus more for coating the pan
plus 2 tablespoons, divided
split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
at room temperature
washed, cut into 1/4 inch rounds and seeds removed
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the upper third. Coat a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with extra butter and flour, tapping out the excess flour; set aside. Combine the measured flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
Place the measured butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. (Stop the mixer periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl.) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing each until just incorporated. (Do not overmix or your cake will be tough.) Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top of the cake is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pot over high heat bring 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and kumquats to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the kumquats are translucent and the skins are soft. Skim off any foam on top and add the thyme leaves. Stir and turn off the heat and set-aside until ready.
Once the pound cake is finished allow remove from oven and rest on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter, invert the cake to remove it from the pan, and let it cool completely before serving.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the heavy cream, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form about 3 minutes. To serve, cut the pound cake into 1-inch slices, and drizzle over the kumquat marmalade and a heaping dollop of whipped cream.
Photo by Robin Jolin
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