I'm knee-deep in the Tour de France at the moment. I've already written about my
obsession commitment to this gritty event here. Up 'til all hours, cheering on those awesome boys on their bikes. I'm so invested in the strategies, placings, stage wins, who's King of the Mountain, who's ahead in the General Classification, who's wearing the Green Jersey... that I'm just not getting enough sleep. I'm walking around like a zombie through the day wearing odd socks to the gym, forgetting my phone when I go out and unable to string a decent sentence together. The Tour de France is certainly a test of endurance, pushing the body and mind to their absolute limits... and that's me I'm talking about, I'm sure the athletes are coping just fine.
Chocolate-Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake
from Joy the Baker
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
250g cream cheese, softened
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate pieces (I used a mix of dark chocolate chips and some chopped orange infused dark chocolate)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 165 degrees C. Grease a 25 x 13cm baking pan and dust with flour. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
On a clean cutting board or counter, place the sugar. Add the orange zest. With a bench scraper or the back of the spoon, work the zest into the granulated sugar, creating a fragrant and orange flavored sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and cream cheese. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl and make sure that the butter and cream cheese are evenly mixed. Add the citrus sugar to the butter and cream cheese mixture, and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Stop the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, beat in one egg at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract.
Add dry ingredients all at once. Beat on low speed until dry ingredients are completely incorporated. Fold in the chocolate pieces.
Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating once or twice during baking. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs. You might consider loosely placing a foil tent over the cake after about 45 minutes of baking. This will keep it from browning too much, and help the centre bake up.
Cake will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to four days.