I've been a member of Costco for a long time now. For those unfamiliar, Costco is a membership warehouse club chain. When I joined in 1990, the company was in the pre-merger days and called Price Club. Although I was not a small business owner, Costco still appealed to me. My college roommates and I would drive from Davis to Sacramento to do some bulk shopping. We could buy toilet paper, giant food service sized cans of fruit cocktail, half gallon tubs of peanut butter and cleaning supplies. I also remember trying to cram a desk we bought into the backseat of an early 80's Toyota and accidentally tearing the cloth covering the back of the passenger side seat. Ooops! Even now, I feel bad about tearing my roommate's seat.
My parents, small business owners until they retired a few years ago, have been Costco members for far longer than I have been. Recently, on their usual monthly shopping trip to Costco, they returned with a 25 pound bag of C&H brown sugar. Our Costco doesn't always have brown sugar and, every once in a while, would have a "manageable" 10 pound bag in stock, but not on this trip. Certain items seem to come and go at Costco. So if you see something you like, buy it, because it might not be there on your next visit.
My mom knows how much I like to bake, so she gave me more than half of their 25 pounds. Since I try to keep my baking pantry pretty well stocked I already had about 6 pounds of brown sugar in my kitchen. Now, with almost 20 pounds of brown sugar to work my way through, I was searching for all kinds of recipes to use up the brown sugar. You would think that brown sugar could be used in place of white granulated sugar in baking recipes. This may be true in many cases, but there are certain situations where the substitution would not work. Brown sugar is more acidic than white sugar so the acid level could be slightly thrown off balance which could possibly affect the finished product. Sometimes I adjust my leavening agents to compensate.
But there was no need to do that since this recipe is written for brown sugar. I found this brown sugar chocolate chip pound cake recipe in the October 2007 issue of Bon Appétit magazine. The brown sugar and maple are well matched flavors and the buttermilk keeps the cake super moist and cuts the sweetness with its tang. My favorite part is the maple espresso glaze drizzled on top. Yummy! My coworkers agreed that this cake is worth making again and again.
By the way, does anyone remember the C&H Sugar Company jingle "C&H, pure cane sugar, from Hawaii, _____ in the sun"? I cannot remember what word comes before "in the sun". So now the jingle is stuck in my head and it's driving me crazy! My internet search has come up with same 3 or 4 words to fill in the blank, but I haven't found a definitive answer. If anyone can help me regain my sanity, I would be eternally grateful.
Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
with Maple-Espresso Glaze
(from Bon Appétit, October 2007)
(makes 12 servings)
12 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (or 12 ounces chocolate chip morsels)
3 cups all purpose flour (plus an additional amount for dusting pan)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract (I didn't have any so I used 4 tbsp pure maple syrup)
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp (or more) heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 325F. Generously butter a 12-cup Bundt pan then dust pan lightly with flour.
Place your chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) in medium bowl. From your 3 cups all purpose flour, measure about 2 tablespoons flour and toss those 2 tablespoons in with your chocolate. (Tossing your chopped chocolate with a tiny bit of flour helps keep them evenly suspended in the batter.)
Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract and maple extract (or maple syrup). Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
On low speed, mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Detach the bowl from the stand mixer and, using a spoon or spatula, fold in the chopped chocolate. Spread your batter evenly in your prepared pan.
Bake at 325F until cake tester comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan over a cooling rack for about 30 minutes. Then invert cake onto cooling rack and let it cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze:
In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cream, and espresso powder until smooth. If the glaze seems too thick to drizzle, add cream by 1/2 teaspoonfuls until the desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Allow the glaze to firm up before serving, about 60 minutes.
I've also used this alternative recipe for the glaze when I didn't have any heavy cream.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 to 2 tbsp strong coffee or espresso
1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)