One of my favorite podcasts featured an interview of the author of Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent, a book about some of our world's most important aromatics. Guess what made the top five?!
Cinnamon, of course! My favorite smell in the world, probably. The others of note are mint, jasmine, ambergris, and frankincense, with which I have varying degrees of experience. Not only does my beloved cinnamon contribute to the deliciousness of many foods, from sweet to savory, it's also vital to my life because its stimulating properties can help fight mental fatigue and improve concentration and focus.
But you guys already knew I was obsessed with cinnamon.
I really wanted to make a cinnamon bundt cake, but when just two people are eating a dessert, something so large doesn't keep its quality long enough. My solution was to make two loaves instead (one to eat, one to freeze), and while the cake still tasted dynamite, it looked, well, atrocious. Good thing neither my fiance nor I care much about presentation.
I added some cinnamon oil to enhance that marvelous aroma and taste, and while you can certainly skip it, I really liked the boost it gave to both the flavor and aroma. The crumb of this cake is fabulous--soft yet dense. I skipped the icing this time, but it would obviously make a great cake even better.
Cinnamon Swirl Pound Cake, For Focus
Makes a 10-cup bundt cake (or 2 less-attractive 9x5-inch loaves)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil, if you can find it!
- 6 large eggs
Make the cinnamon sugar: In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. Whisk with a fork to combine and set aside.
Make the pound cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-cup bundt pan. Shake the excess flour and set aside.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon oil; beat on medium speed until combined.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the bowl occasionally.
Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
Pour about 1/3 of the pound cake batter into the prepared pan. Bang it a couple of time on your counter to even out the batter.
Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar over the batter.
Add half of the remaining cake batter over the cinnamon sugar, followed by second half of the cinnamon sugar. Finally, add the remaining batter to the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until an inserted bamboo skewer or knife comes out clean.
Remove pan from the oven. Allow the cake to cool out of the oven for about 3 minutes or so, then gently run a knife over the edges and slowly pulling towards you to loosen the cake from the batter.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for another 5-10 minutes, then carefully invert in a wire rack to cool completely.