Blogging by Mail 3: Home for the Holidays

BBM 3 contents

Blogging by Mail is a care package/secret Santa-type event that Nic (of The Baking Sheet) and I created after serendipituous exchanges of homemade marshmallows and Nutella.

This month, Cathy (of My Little Kitchen) hosted a “Home for the Holidays” BBM. I received my package yesterday from Jennifer (of The Fallen Souffle) in North Carolina, complete with:

  • Five-flavor pound cake, from a secret recipe passed down through three generations
  • Lemon poppy seed pound cake
  • Cranberry biscotti
  • Hazelnut coffee
  • Homemade strawberry and hot pepper jams

She also gave me a flavor (no pun intended) of her home by packing her paper’s food section, a grocery store classified ad (it’s a miracle that I pay about the same amount for groceries as she does in the South), a handwritten letter detailing her family traditions, and recipes for her famous poppy seed pound cake and biscotti (check the comments section for the recipe). I felt like I had just received a family heirloom.

five-flavor pound cake

No offense to Jennifer, but my favorite part was her grandmother’s five-flavor pound cake. It was deliciously moist after two weeks in transit, yet the top had a crispy crust. I was so stricken by the double textures. Upon further investigation, I could see that a sugar syrup must have been poured over the top, as the top half of the loaf was moister and slightly darker than the rest. I think the sugar might have crystalized on top, which is how it got crunchy.

I wolfed down the first slice, not even bothering to analyze the five flavors. I just knew it was good. After a second slice, I definitely tasted coconut, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what the other four flavors were. I did not detect citrus, nut extract, anise extract or spices.

I can’t wait to dig into the jams, but right now I’m just trying to stretch out the five-flavor pound cake as much as I can.

Don’t forget to sign up for BBM4: Music Edition, hosted by Food Ninja, by Jan. 10!

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  1. mari said,

    Looks like you received a really amazing package…any chance you’ll share the pound cake recipe…? And cranberry biscotti. Yum. BTW, I had no idea that you and Nic started this Blogging by Mail event. Wow! I participated in the BBM3 and had a great time. best, m

    December 1, 2005 at 11:44 pm

  2. Jessica "Su Good Eats" said,

    Hi Mari,
    The five-flavor pound cake is a family secret 🙁 but here’s the other recipes

    1/2 c vegetable oil
    1 c sugar
    3 1/4 c all-purpose flour
    3 eggs
    1 T baking powder
    *optional flavorings
    -1 T anise extract or
    -zest and juice of 1 orange or
    -1 T almond extract

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

    2. In a medium, beat together oil, eggs, sugar, and liquid flavorings until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. If you are adding nuts, dried fruit or chopped chocolate – fold them in now. Divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as the cookie sheet. Flatten the roll to about 1/2 inch thickness.

    3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cook slightly. Once cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2 slices, diagonal slices are always pretty. Place the cut side up on the baking sheet and bake for 6-10 minutes on each side. Slices will be lighly toasted.

    4. After cooling, you may dip or drizzle with melted chocolate.

    Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake
    2 c all-purpose flour
    2 T poppy seeds
    1/2 t baking powder
    1/4 t baking soda
    1/4 t salt
    2 large lemons
    3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
    1 1/2 c plus 1/3 c sugar
    4 large eggs
    1 t vanilla extract
    1/2 c sour cream

    1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour 9×5 inch loaf pan.
    2. In medium bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, soda and salt. From lemons, frate 1 T of peel and squeeze 3 T of juice.
    3. In large bowl, beat butter and 1 1/2 c sugar until blended. Beat until light and fluffy about 5 min. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour misture: beat just until smooth.
    4. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake about 1 hr 20 min., until toothpick comes clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Run thin knife around cake to loosen sides from pan. Remove from pan, place on rack set over waxed paper.
    5. In small bowl, combine lemon juice and remaining 1/3 c sugar. Brush mixture over top and sides of warm cake. Cool completely.

    December 5, 2005 at 11:07 pm