I can’t do anything normal, the obvious way, the “exactly according to the recipe” way. Sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. Today it worked; really, really worked.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? I am a fool for April Fool’s Day. We celebrate big time over here and we even have had an April Fool’s Day birthday party since my daughter, Zoie, was born in early April (Sorry Grace, I believe you were the one who had the first piece of the mashed potato frosted meatloaf birthday “cake”).
Each year, I make something from the kitchen that “fools” the family. I know, I am SUCH an original. This year was going to be faux fries made from a plain and simple pound cake recipe with faux ketchup (red icing). I was in the middle of making the Ina Garten pound cake, when I realized I was actually making two pound cakes. No, I never, ever, and I mean EVER read the entire recipe beforehand…bad idea…do what I say and not what I do…Ok? Good.
Ya think the whole cup of butter might have been a dead give away or the THREE CUPS of flour, but no, not to me; I was oblivious. Sometimes, I just plow through as I am cooking dinner with one part of my brain and whizzing through a baking post with the other half. Stop muttering to yourselves those who know me. YES I HAVE A WHOLE BRAIN! I may not always use it, but I do have one last I checked; no lobotomies in the last
two four decades that I am aware of. Moving on…
When I realized that I had an extra pound cake to be spontaneous with, I knew right away what I was craving and what I had sitting in front of me, jumping up and down waiting to be thrown into the mix. I had a big bag of gorgeous looking, and even more gorgeous tasting, organic CA oranges so yep, orange zest was definitely going to play a role.
Next, I plucked a few thyme sprigs from one of the two herbs that survived the harsh So. Cal. winter (kindly note sarcasm) and finally, what goes better with orange flavor and a butter cake than 70% bittersweet chocolate chips? Nothing. Am I right?
Challah no, wait, I think it’s halla! and has now been corrected to holla.
I never have used that word, but thought I would give it a go. When I went to Google to find out how to spell it correctly because I am just that nerdy, I was told by Urban Dictionary that only “douches” use the word; by the roll of my 16 yr. old’s eyes when I asked him how to spell it, I think I have positively confirmed Urban Dictionary’s assessment. Uh oh.
Anyhow, rambling further on…back to the mind altering pound cake. I have not been able to stop pinching a bite here and there of this alluring citrus-y, chocolate chip pound cake. The pound cake is all Ina; buttery, soft yet firm, moist, golden…need I say more? But the bling is all me, and it’s the bling that sends it to Crazy Place. A place you cannot stay away from if you are even a teensy bit off kilter which we have established about me in, oh ,about 50 posts or so.
I am a sworn chocoholic, and I am sure every other of my posts tells you how one flavor or another is the “perfect accompaniment” or “better half” to chocolate. I recall peanut butter, dark cherry, raspberry, coffee, malt, strawberry, almond and now, here we have it, the latest addition to the all inclusive and ever stretching “What goes smashingly with chocolate” list…ORANGE. TA DA! I know, it is not new news, but it still a superb partner to chocolate nevertheless.
So, I had better stop while I am behind and tell you if you need a quick ticket to Crazy Place, make this cake. Your eyes may roll back a bit when you take your first bite and you may feel like you have totally lost your marbles as you quickly grab another slice…and then another, but sanity is highly overrated. Am I right? Holla!
Faux Fries with Red Icing
From Ina Garten’s Plain Pound Cake
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*For the chocolate orange zested pound cake with thyme, just add 1 T. freshly grated orange zest (orange zest only please, no white pithe…it’s terribly bitter), 1/4 t. orange extract, 2 t. chopped FRESH thyme and 1/2 c. DARK chocolate chips. Obviously, any chocolate chip would work, but dark is my personal FAVE with orange flavor. Simply add the zest and extract to the buttermilk when you stir in the vanilla. Then, once the mixture is all together, add the chocolate chips at the end and just stir them in.
To make the poundcake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray coat two loaf pans. Ina recommends placing a parchment paper, cut to the size of the bottom of the pan, in the loaf pan. I spray coated, put the parchment in, and sprayed the liner as well.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for about five minutes until creamy and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating in between to incorporate the egg.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour through salt. Stir together the vanilla and buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup. Pour in 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the milk into the butter mixture, creaming together until just incorporated and repeat this process until everything is mixed together but do not over mix.
Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for ten minutes and then release the cake from the pan by taking a butter knife around the outside of the cake to make sure none is sticking to the sides.
To make the faux fries (I realized AFTER I had cut up my homemade pound cake that pictures would hve been helpful to demonstrate how to cut the fries so the one you see there is a frozen Sarah Lee stunt double). Cool the cake COMPLETELY and then refrigerate over night or for at least an hour or so. This will make it firm and easier to cut. The crinkles will make more of an indention the firmer the cake is and therefore they will look more like fries. With a crinkle cutter or knife that is designed for cutting crinkles, cut the ends off of each small side/short side of the pound cake, exposing the inside of the cake. You will still have the darker “crust” on for the long sides.
Now, with your crinkle cutter or appropriate knife, cut about 1/2 inch thick slices, just like you would any loaf cake or pound cake.
Take each slice and cut it into four fry-like sticks. The brown left from the “crust” on the outside edge will look good on the ends so don’t remove those. Preheat the broiler so it’s nice and hot. We are going to toast the pound cake sticks now.
Finally, lay the pound cake sticks on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and place the cookie sheet in the oven, watching them like a hawk. My broiler cooks unevenly so I turned my pan around to adequately toast the back and front “fries”. Take the pan out and using tongs, carefully turn over each “fry” to toast the opposite side. I took ones off as they were getting done and left others on to get more golden. This honestly took only about five minutes even though it sounds annoying.
To make the ketchup…measure about 1/4 c. of powdered sugar, add 1 T. of milk and stir. If it’s too thin, add a little more sugar. Then add ample amounts of red food coloring and stir it in until it’s a bright red.
I politely asked our local Fast Food joint for a couple of extra ketchup cups so that I could really get a good fake fries and ketchup look. It worked! Don’t they look pretty real?
Good luck and hope you can fool someone at your house. Have a great April Fool’s Day!
March 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm
How cute! Very creative! I could really enjoy those french fries!
March 31, 2011 at 1:36 am
wow! will surely try tomorrw
March 31, 2011 at 5:02 am
If you don’t want to make the pound cake from scratch, just buy a Sarah Lee one in the frozen food aisle of the market.
March 31, 2011 at 5:05 am
Haha in my opinion, having two cakes to eat is never really a bad thing. I love your faux fries idea! So adorable!
March 31, 2011 at 5:29 am
I couldn’t believe they turned out pretty real. I am actually waiting to serve them to my son on Friday. I froze them for the time being.
March 31, 2011 at 5:07 am
Gorgeous cake! And your “bling” definitely works for me! I think your fun on April Fools day is so cute…I remember playing up all those days when my kids were younger. Now they just roll their eyes…something like your daughter!!
March 31, 2011 at 5:28 am
Maybe you need some new victims.
March 31, 2011 at 5:53 am
LOL, love those “fries” they look excellent!
Great looking pound cakes!
March 31, 2011 at 6:39 am
Lol, Geni, we’re both so smart and pretty! Chocolate and orange, YAY! I bid on your cookies too and got outbid- you’re rockin it over there! Ah well, we should swap baked goods at some point anyways!
March 31, 2011 at 7:24 am
Stunning photos and I love your recipes!!! I hope you have wonderful April fools:)
March 31, 2011 at 8:02 am
I love the fries! I’m totally going to make those! Thanks for sharing.
March 31, 2011 at 11:28 am
So hilarious. I laughed out loud when I read that you went to urban dictionary to correctly spell holla/halla/challah! 🙂 The food, or course, looks amazing. Love the orange and chocolate.
Oh, and I think I’m mad at you for talking about your harsh winters! 🙂
March 31, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Hi Leah! You made me question and begin to edit my spelling of “holla”; then go back to Urban Dictionary to re-read it and decide that both are right and equally ridiculous for me to use. What am I on?!!!
March 31, 2011 at 11:56 am
Your cake and frosting do look exactly like fries and ketchup! I hope you succeed in fooling the family. I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised 🙂
March 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm
I love that you do this!! Thats so fun. My family never, ever did anything on April Fools. We’re just not that exciting.
St Patricks Day on the other hand is serious business. And by serious, I mean my dad dyes his hair green. Its embarassing. And really, really bright.
March 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm
OMG! That looks so tasty!
(P.S. Toby is licking my toe.)
March 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm
Let’s clarify to all my readers out there that Toby is a dog. ;p
March 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm
This is absolutely brilliant! I never though of playing and prank on food.
March 31, 2011 at 9:45 pm
Geni–ha! this is brilliant! How fun! Love those “fries”–what a great idea. 🙂
March 31, 2011 at 10:28 pm
The faux fries are awesome! And I hate to admit it, but the chocolate and orange combo just doesn’t appeal to me. I am a huge chocaholic and I love citrus, but just not together. I’ve tried the combo many times but never enjoyed it. The pound cake still sounds fabulous (without the orange zest)! 🙂 Happy April Fools day!
April 1, 2011 at 6:56 am
So no “holla!” for you then? I would leave out the chocolate chips and keep the orange and thyme. Yum!
April 1, 2011 at 3:07 am
I love this! When I first saw the photo I honestly thought it was chips aswell 🙂 Happy April Fools, hope you didn’t have too many pranks but did have lots of cake!
April 1, 2011 at 6:14 am
This is super April Fool like. I have a friend who was born on 1st April. no one turned up on her 1st B’day party. Poor her, but this is definitely fun. N the orange & chocolate combination is a go go go …..
Why to good 🙂
April 1, 2011 at 9:00 am
Great work! I love the creativity here. That would totally fool my kids. 🙂
April 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm
We shall see if it fools my son…it has not been tested yet! This afternoon is the “reveal”.
April 1, 2011 at 9:56 am
Brilliant! I love how this turned out. A fabulous April’s Food food.
April 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm
It did turn out better than I expected. My pound cake was a lot spongier than the frozen variety and I feared it would look too much like cake, but it actually turned out great…especially after I broiled it.
April 1, 2011 at 10:17 am
I LOVE this idea Geni. You are terribly inventive that I could use you at my house LOL. I am going to try this out and fool my family and see what they say. Love this plan that’s emerging. Great post 🙂
April 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm
I am just a good copier, but thank you. I think I got this idea from Family Fun magazine originally.
April 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm
So So cool idea to use that cutter for the pretty look of these cake sticks.I m a BIGG fan of oranges & chocolates.Would love to try out your recipe sometime.Looks simple and amazing.
April 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm
Hi, Geni. Great idea for your fake fries for April Fools Day. I have missed a few other great posts of yours lately, so I’d better try to catch up with your busy baking.
April 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm
What a cute idea. I’m sure your birthday girl got a kick out of them. It really is a clever idea. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary
April 2, 2011 at 6:32 am
The fries look amazing! Chocolate and orange pond cake? I’m in!
April 2, 2011 at 9:53 am
LOVE the April Fools recipe idea — what a delightful family tradition!
April 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm
oh that is too fun! I Love this idea!
April 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm
The fries look amazing and tasted great! (;
April 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm
What a brilliant idea. I love it. 🙂
April 5, 2011 at 9:47 am
Can’t say the idea was mine, but the follow through turned out pretty well I thought. Thanks!
April 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm
You are so clever to do this. The look absolutely like real fries. I also love Ina’s orange cake so you must have had tasty french fries.
April 22, 2011 at 8:14 am
I’ve just discovered your blog via our new Ina’s Garden blog hop group. What a fantastic idea to add chocolate to the orange pound cake! Orange and chocolate are such a fabulous combination. I also love your faux fries – what a clever idea! Thank you so much for sharing this post with Ina’s Garden, our new blog hop group. We hope you will be able to bake along with us and link up when we make Ina’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Squares for 5th May.
April 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm
Found ur lovely site thru Ina’s blog hop and aint this a very delightful cake?
I loveee ur additions , makes it a keeper and i loveee slicing cakes with my crinkle cutters too 🙂
U have been very creative with the faux fries , i must try this soonnn…
So muc fun!
June 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm
Oh how I wish I would have happened upon these around April fools day! What a great trick!