Recipe quick takes: Carole Bloom’s Butterscotch Toasted-Walnut Pound Cake

It’s taken me a while to write this post, which is one part annoying WordPress UI changes, one part laziness, and one part my overall “meh” feeling about the results of this recipe. I’ll be making something considerably more exciting over the long holiday weekend, but in the mean time I want to get this one off my plate. “Butterscotch Toasted-Walnut Pound Cake” is a fairly simple recipe (that doesn’t even involve making anything I would recognize as butterscotch) from Carole Bloom’s 2013 cookbook Caramel (Gibbs Smith; p. 50). Now, I would normally understand “butterscotch” to be a caramel made from butter and brown sugar — especially in a cookbook with a title like Caramel — but in this case it’s just a fairly boring creaming-method process, which wasn’t even worth taking more than a few pictures. The result was a bit squat and more than a bit dry; overall tasters were rather underwhelmed. Maybe you can spot the problem with this process.

Mise en place
Even the mise is very simple: we start by toasting 5½ oz (155 g) of walnuts, which will be chopped coarsely once cool. The cake proper consists of 9 ounces (255 g) of cake flour, leavened with a teaspoon of baking powder, ¼ tsp of kosher salt, half a pound (225 g) of unsalted butter, 6 oz (170 g) of dark brown sugar (I used my usual India Tree dark muscovado), four extra-large eggs, 3 tbl of heavy cream, and 2 tsp of vanilla extract. (This cookbook is one of a small number that habitually call for extra-large eggs. If I understand the US egg-grading standard, “extra large” means an average of 24 ounces per dozen, or 57 g per egg, as opposed to regular “large” eggs which are 50 g each or 21 oz per dozen.)

Batter after creaming stage
Like any pound cake, this is made by the creaming method. The photo here shows the point in the process after the eggs have been added to the creamed butter and brown sugar, but before the other liquid ingredients, dry ingredients, and toasted walnut pieces.

Cake batter in loaf pan
The cake is baked in a foil-lined 9″×5″ (230×130 mm) loaf pan at 325°F (160°C) for 70 minutes — or probably less, given how dry my cake turned out.

Fully baked cake
Well, it looked good when it came out of the oven. But the flavor just wasn’t very interesting — Sue Felshin described it as “like date-nut bread without the dates”.


Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/12 of 9″×5″ loaf cake
Servings per recipe: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 331 Calories from fat 198
% Daily Value
Total Fat 22g 34%
 Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 99mg 33%
Sodium 76mg 2%
Potassium 71mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 9%
 Dietary fiber 1g 5%
 Sugars 12g
Proteins 6g 11%
Vitamin A 12%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 5%
Iron 5%
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2 Responses to Recipe quick takes: Carole Bloom’s Butterscotch Toasted-Walnut Pound Cake

  1. Love the name of your blog and the fact that you chose to blog about “meh” results. My mother once made a prune cake. She forgot to pit the prunes. ;) – The Mouse

    • Well, you know, that’s kind of the point! I’m not here for self-aggrandizement, I just want to try lots of recipes and see whether I think they’re any good or not. So I try to put in the effort even if I’m not happy with the result so that other people will know that it didn’t turn out — and maybe sometimes the people out there who are better bakers than I am can suggest where it went wrong.

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