Sunday, April 1, 2012

Painting and Pound Cake

by Lucy Arlington

Do you have activities that tap into your creativity? I always have some kind of project on the go, like the shawl I’m knitting and the cross-stitch that I’ve almost finished. Recently, I’ve also started to paint with watercolours. This is a challenging medium, but the more I do it, the better I get. Here are a couple of photos of my work. What do you think?

One of the reasons that I love painting is that I get together every Friday morning with an art club. It is comprised of a wonderful group of ladies who each week try their hand at various art techniques. With paintbrushes or pencils in hand, we chat and create works of art that sometimes we love, sometimes are unhappy with, but always learn from. We are an encouraging group, asking for or offering advice. But what we gain most from getting together is friendship and support.

And snacks. Of course, the hostess provides coffee, tea and some kind of baked treat. It seems to me that the fellowship of women always includes food. Besides, isn’t baking also a way to tap into one’s creativity?

This week was my turn to host. Along with mini banana muffins and a cheese and cracker platter with grapes, I baked an Almond Pound Cake for my fellow artists. This is one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made, and combines two things that I love—the flavour of almonds with pound cake. If you’re a lover of pound cake, I guarantee this will become one of your favourites.

What do you do to be creative?

Almond Pound Cake

1 ½ cups butter, softened

3 cups sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

3 Tbsp almond extract

6 eggs, room temperature

3 cups flour

1 cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Sprinkle the sliced almonds along the bottom and up the sides, if possible, in an even layer.

3. Beat butter, sugar, cream cheese and almond extract at high speed until light and fluffy.

4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.

5. On low speed, add flour. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.

6. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cool before turning out of the pan.