It was just about a week ago that Sami told me, "OK, you'll need to close the kitchen on Monday for the move. Maybe you'll want to make something to help fuel the move?"
Once again, Maida had just the right answer: fruits and nuts and butter and (cream) cheese. How much much more energy-laden can you get? So, delighted to have an excuse to use my kitchen one more time, I chopped and stirred and scraped...
...and I made a big loaf for us and little loaves to share. Except the girls took them over as soon as they got home. Even Claire, who's not a huge fruit and nut lover, really enjoyed this cake.
Indeed, this cake was excellent moving fuel. It took us from one apartment to another and gave us energy to pack/unpack just one more box. It also tasted really great.
The next recipe will come from my new kitchen in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. But in the meantime, try this one out, especially if you have heavy lifting in your future. (If there's not so much, you can halve the recipe and just make one loaf.)
Prune and Apricot Pound Cake
1/2 c. (2 oz.) blanched almonds, chopped (I used sliced, crushed a bit)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. (8 oz.) butter, room temperature
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
Finely grated rind of 1 large (organic) lemon
Finely grated rind of 1 large (organic) orange
1-1/4 c. (8.75 oz.) brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 c. (8 oz.) sifted flour (I used some whole wheat)
1 c. (8 oz.) pitted prunes, snipped into thin strips
2/3 c. (6 oz.) dried apricots, snipped into thin strips
1 c. (3.5 oz.) walnut halves or large pieces
Heat the oven to 350. Butter two loaf pans and coat them with the chopped almonds. You'll probably have too many almonds--save them to sprinkle them over the top of the cake.
Cream together the cream cheese, butter, baking powder, and salt until fluffy. Beat in the grated orange and lemon rinds and then gradually beat in the brown sugar. Beat a minute or two until the color lightens. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually stir in the flour at low speed. Take the bowl off the mixer and stir in the prunes, apricots, and walnuts. Pour the batter into the two loaf pans and sprinkle them with the remaining almonds.
Bake for 1 hour, check, then if the loaves still need more time, cover them with aluminum foil before baking another 20-30 minutes (mine was done well before 1 hour). Cool the loaves in the pan for 20 minutes, then unmold and cool. This keeps really well--it was still good 4 days later.