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.


Aurian said...

Lol, my only creativity is in the reviews I write. And that is not an easy thing for me, so I admire authors even more for writing whole books, and thinking them up first.
Last night, my stepdaughter and I tried to make cupcakes for the very first time. I had bought a box, and only had to add a few things. But we read the recipe wrong, and used to times as much milk as was asked for, so had to rush to the store and by a new pack. But, the cupcakes turned out great and delicious :)

ev said...

Now that we are empty nesters (three years and counting!), I have been having more and more creative fun in the kitchen. Taking cooking classes, having the kitchen re-modeled in a few ways, buying new toys for it.

Hubby was sick this past week and I came home on a 3 hour break and made him chicken noodle soup. NOT something I would have done in the past. Before it was always basics. Now it's just fun!

Nancy said...

Your paintings are beautiful! You're just bursting with talent.
I did bake a pound cake years ago, not knowing what it was I was baking. Strange, eh? Well, my mother-in-law was coming to visit all the way from Vienna, Austria so instead of sensibly baking a homegrown treat that I knew how to make, I got a cookbook from the library and baked a "sand torte". This was, of course, a pound cake. The cream cheese in your recipe will set it apart from the ordinary.

Vickie said...

Your watercolours are lovely! I would love to be able to draw or paint well, but I am lucky to do stick figures and blotchy flowers. I have slowly started mosaics and I do love cross-stitch. I stopped when I had my daughter, I was worried about the needles and the tangling. That was nine years ago, so not sure what my excuse is now.

This recipe looks superb. I love almonds, too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nancy. Way to go to try something new. Did your mother-in-law enjoy your sand-torte?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Vicky. A couple of years ago, I said the same thing about my artistic ability, but then I kept at it and now I feel more competent. Just believe in yourself (at the risk of sounding cheesy, lol) I hope you enjoy the pound cake.

Anonymous said...

Ev, Chicken noodle soup--yum! Especially homemade. I love cooking too!

Anonymous said...

Aurian, writing reviews is a creative outlet too! Keep at it with the baking. It gets better!