A Soulful Cake: Marbled Cherry Cream Cheese Cake

Let me tell you about Alon’s, my favorite bakery in town. It’s my comfort destination, a place where I go to cheer myself when I am down, lost, confused or plain craving. It’s a place where I can lose myself in the midst of glistening chocolate cakes, fancy baked goodies and inviting cookies.  A place whose allure just increases thanks to the variety of european wines and cheeses and spreads and chocolates and relishes it stores. The fact that it has a terrific deli serving some mouth watering lunch stuff (Tunisian Tuna Sandwish, oh my !) is a good arguement to visit them when hungry. And then some sexy mocha to down it all. I mean, how can I – a chocolate and coffee lover, a passionate baker, a food lover – not love this place that does it all in style, panache and with outstanding quality. Of course, every visit cuts through the heart of my purse is another matter alltogether 🙂 It’s the kind of place, with its rustic, cozy and inviting feel, that I would like to open up in some far flung town flanked by the mountains, once I find the sponsor to burn through a neat pile of cash and the guts to deal with it head on 😀 :D.

And so, it was one of those days that I went there with hubby darling and we lunched on a fabulous Tunisian Tuna sandwich and a velvety smooth Opera Cake, with a tall Mocha to sip – a lovely winter afternoon with the love of my life 🙂 But that was not enough when I was at Alon’s. I had to have the lovely goodies too. So post lunch I was looking to pick up something sweet for next day breakfast table when I saw this lovely wrapped cream cheese pound cake. It looked lovely and knowing it was from Alon’s I had no doubt would taste lovely too. And it did –  creamy, rich, moist and sweet. Not a big fan of pound cakes, but this was special. So much so that I decided to bake one myself. The result was this marbled cherry cream cheese pound cake that I came up with post multiple recipe searches and some chit chat with a friendly Alon’s s salesperson :D. The cake is cherry flavored but you can put in virtually any flavor combination that you desire. All you need is your imagination and the related pantry items 🙂 A classic would be chocolate marbling but that would also be so classic. I would encourage you to come up with some interesting options as well :). The cake freezes well and can be baked in a bundt pan for maximum oomph. Too bad I don’t have a bundt pan yet (hint ye readers :D) …

Ingredients:

Cake:

1. 3 cups all-purpose flour

2. 1 tsp baking powder

3. 1/2 tsp salt

4. 8 Oz cream cheese, softened

5. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (one stick)

6. 1.75 cups granulated sugar

7. 5 large eggs

8. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

9. 4.5 Oz Cherry flavored baking chips (or use any flavor chips, chocolate baking bars etc), melted, cooled and kept aside

Chocolate Glaze: (optional)

1. 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

2. 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

3. 4.5 Oz good quality chocolate chips/couverture/coarsely chopped chocolate bar, preferably semi sweet

Method:

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees(F). Prepare a 9″ pan by greasing and dusting with flour.   2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and keep aside.

3. Beat cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 2-3 minutes, until well blended. Slowly add sugar, beating on medium till light and fluffy (and super yummy :D).

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 30-40 seconds after each addition. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

5. Mix in the flour mixture till combined. remember to scrape the bowl in between using a spatula to ensure a proper mix.

6. Spread half batter in the prepared pan. Now pour the melted cherry chips and top with remaining batter. Once all the batter is in, drag a fork/knife/cake tester through the batter to create a marbled effect. Do not mix too much lest you get a uniform cake instead of a marbled one 😀

7. Bake 75 odd minutes or till the cake is done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack and cool completely.

Make the glaze: (If using)

1. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat till its scalded (bubbles start forming on the sides). Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir to get a smooth mixture. Cool the glaze until for about 15  minutes at room temperature to allow it to thicken a bit. Now drizzle/pour over the cake and let it set in the fridge. Enjoy afterwards 🙂

Remember:

1. You may use a little corn syrup in the glaze to make it even shinier.

2. Use the excess/dripped glaze to add oomph to your morning bread 🙂

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