A Southern Grace: eyes on the prize

March 10, 2016

eyes on the prize


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
(printable recipe)
Makes a 10-cup bundt cake (or 2 less-attractive 9x5-inch loaves)
Cinnamon sugar:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Pound cake:
  • 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.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A tempting cake! I love cinnamon.



Ali Arnone said...

I buy this cinnamon swirl bread and often toast it at work & put PB on it - it's amazing and you're right, it smells SO good and everyone in the office comments about it. This cake looks amazing!

Kathryn @ Family Food on the Table said...

I am a cinnamon lover too! And my little ones have already caught on - they asked to smell the cinnamon container anytime it comes out for baking :) Love that you can freeze the extra loaf of this - a fun treat to find in the freezer for later :)

~~louise~~ said...

Cinnamon Swirl Pound Cake is one of my very best favorites to enjoy with a nice cup of tea. Yours looks so inviting Grace. I think your presentation is just fine:)

Thank you so much for sharing...

Rachel Castejon - The Castejons said...

We use cinnamon in our morning smoothies for all the great health benefits, plus its so warm and inviting! We are foodies based out of Charleston, SC, but I'm originally from Rock Hill, SC- super close to you! So cool to find other close-by fellow food bloggers!

Linda@2CookinMamas said...

I love cinnamon as well, whether it is in a cake, cookie or in my coffee. Your cake looks delicious with that nice swirl and I bet it is even better with cinnamon oil. I've got to try that next time I bake.

Food Gal said...

Cinnamon is definitely one of my faves, too. I put extra in my morning oatmeal. It's warm, sweet and just a little spicy. And the smell can't help but make me think of baking something glorious.

Ashley @The Olive and The Sea said...

This cake looks fabulous! Just like you, cinnamon is my favorite. I can't wait to try this recipe and have the smell of cinnamon wafting through the house while the cake bakes.

Elsa | the Whinery said...

I love the delicate swirl of the cinnamon, looks so pretty! 'll take a slice please! :-)

Beth said...

Ha! I have the same issue with trying to reduce the size of Bundt cake recipes. I definitely don't need a whole cake sitting around the house. But I might be persuaded to make a whole cake like this cinnamon one - it sounds terrific!

Alicia Foodycat said...

The slice is very pretty! And it sounds delicious.

Valentina said...

This looks delish! I've never tried cooking with cinnamon oil but it sounds like something I should look into :)

Królowa Karo said...

A love smell of cinnamon. The best is with apple.

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

The issues of only having two mouths to eat all the goodness that we create! Thank goodness for my co-workers, but sometimes I just don't want to share. Never considered freezing a cake, will have to try it!

Angie Schneider said...

I love cinnamon too. This is one great pound cake, Grace.

Marjie said...

I've never tried cinnamon oil! I use copious amounts of cinnamon in my hot cross buns. They smell divine. Your loaf pound cakes are a great idea.

Kate @ Framed Cooks said...

CINNAMON. My favorite spice - not even a fair fight. I'll be making this pound cake sooooooon!

All That I'm Eating said...

Of course cinnamon was up there! This bread looks so good and I bet it smelled amazing when it was cooking.

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

I also really love cinnamon! It makes me feel so warm and happy. You cake looks delicious.

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Well it looks great sliced!! I agree about the smell of cinnamon! Love the idea of splitting and freezing. I am constantly halving recipes now that my kids are only home summers!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Mmm pound cake... I love the scent of vanilla, and lavender :)

Priya Joshi said...

Perfect cake for teatime