I’m not traveling to Washington for the Inauguration this week. My mother, the animals, and I will be huddled next to the electronic hearth for the next couple of days, however, absorbing as much televised inaugural coverage as we can.
It’s an exciting event. Even people who aren’t Obama girls and boys can’t help hopping on the hope bandwagon. We all want to do our part to put the country on a new path.
My brother is going to an inaugural ball. Not to be outdone, I have prepared an inaugural cake. I wrote to the folks at Wilton to ask for some red, white, and blue sprinkles. They generously threw in some writing gel, star-shaped icing decorations, and a star-shaped pan. (They offered me a flag pan, but I was afraid that it would present too much of a challenge to my limited decorating skills.)
The resulting confection is not only delicious but beautiful as well. I started out trying to outline the star with the gel. When that didn’t work (did I mention my limited decorating skills?), I decided to revert to my usual free-form style. I ended up with a cake that is cheerful and-yes-hopeful.
In tribute to our incoming president’s message, HOPE is in fact the name of this cake, which includes honey, orange, pineapple, and eggs, among other delicious ingredients. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat.
“Hope is a recipe …. For a country that is looking for a brighter future, hope is the main ingredient.”
— Donna Brazile
for the orange-pineapple pound cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (including its juice)
the grated zest and finely chopped pulp of 1 orange (everything in fact but the seeds and the bitter white part)
for the honey-cream cheese frosting:
1 8-ounce block cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
2 generous tablespoons honey
confectioner’s sugar as needed
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan (or a star pan from Wilton).
Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla, baking powder, and salt.
Gently stir in the flour until it is incorporated, and fold in the fruit and zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The timing will depend on your pan. With my star pan and my gas oven, it took 45 to 50 minutes.
Let the cake cool in its pan for 10 minutes. Gently loosen the sides and turn the cake out of the pan onto the rack and allow it to cool completely.
When the cake is cool, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and honey. Beat in confectioner’s sugar until you have a soft, spreadable, delicious icing. Beat in the vanilla, and spread the frosting over your cake. Decorate with abandon. Serves 10 to 12 inaugural guests.