Tag Archives: cakes

from the file pit: chocolate poundcake

19 Aug

Welcome, friends, to the second recipe plucked from the obscurity of my messy, messy recipe files. I’d like to begin by telling you that unlike the Rocky Road cake, where I could harbor a guess as to how the recipe came to be in my clutches, today’s recipe for chocolate poundcake? I have absolutely no idea. It’s handwritten, as you can see—and yes, that’s definitely my scrawl—and in classic McPolish style it has very few actual instructions. Your guess is as good as mine as to where I dug this one up.

Very detailed recipe, folks. Very detailed.

Very detailed recipe, folks. Very detailed.

Seriously, do I have an aversion to instructions that I don’t know about? It’s entirely possible, and something I will have to think about at a later time. Maybe. But today, right now, at this moment, instructions are inconsequential because what’s important is that this chocolate poundcake is delicious. I’m declaring it a winner (Of what I’m not sure. The file pit? My tastebuds? The entire Chicagoland area?), and a repeater recipe for the following reasons:

  1. It’s stupidly easy to pull together, few directions or no.
  2. It has a lovely, deep chocolate flavor.
  3. Butter.

If I had to add a fourth reason it would be because I can make this cake in bundt form, rather than loaf form, and let me tell you something about loaf form that you probably already know:





Loaf-type baked goods hardly turn out well for me. They’re either raw in the middle, burned on the top or bottom, and in general are a disaster. And not even a good disaster that I could take and reformat into a delectable treat. Loaf-style baked goods, with the exception of mini-loaves, are just a straight-up shitshow for me, more times than not. 

But bundt cakes?

Now you’re speaking my language!

If, for some reason, you’re not into bundts (Why? What could you possibly have against bundt formations? Is it the hole? Do you not like the hole in the middle?) but you like chocolate poundcake, my suggestion to you is to suck it up, buttercup, and make this cake anyway. And then, to save yourself the misery of having to look at a bundt cake (Is it the fluted sides?) or eat a bundt cake (Okay, now you’re just weird) once it’s cooled you can chop it up and turn it into some sort of trifle. Because this cake would make for an amazing trifle layer. Slap gobs of whipped cream in between the layers, perhaps douse the cake with Kahlua or amaretto, maybe toss in some fresh berries, whatever you have on hand or whatever’s in season, you know? Go to town, have some fun, let it all hang out if you really can’t stand a bundt cake. Or even if you are a fan of the bundt cake, this trifle idea might still have legs.


Seriously. How can you not love a bundt?

I really don’t think you can go wrong either way.


from the file pit: rocky road cake

29 Jul

Sometimes you have an idea, and before you can stop yourself you tell other people about this idea, and then later, once you have time to reflect, you’re honestly not sure if your idea is a good one, or if maybe next time you should shut the hell up and not tell the Internets that you’re going to do something, because now you have to do it whether you like it or not.

Unless you’re talking about training for a half marathon.

But! When I finally reached into the file pit because I was so fed up with myself and was just like, “OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND DECENT, JUST PICK A F*&$ING RECIPE ALREADY AND GET ON WITH IT,” this recipe was literally the first one in the pile, which I am taking to be a sign that this idea of working my way through the recipe files my younger self hoarded many moons ago was a good one. Also, the fact that there even exists a recipe for Rocky Road Cake is proof that Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit all love me and want me to be happy. Add that to the fact that it was on top of all the other hundreds of recipes, and well, clearly I am brilliant.

The recipe is so simple, though, that I’m not actually sure it constitutes as a recipe. It’s basically like, “mix together some boxed devil’s food cake, some water, some other stuff, and beat that for a couple of minutes, then stir in the chocolate chips and marshmallows and peanuts and WAA-LAA YOU HAVE A CAKE AND YOU CAN EAT IT TOO, SUCK IT, MARIE ANTOINETTE.”

Sorry for the crappy photos taken on my phone.

Sorry for the crappy photos taken on my phone.

I have no idea where I found this recipe, but I have a hunch that my old boss had a book of cake recipes that she brought in for me to check out once, which I did, as evidenced by the fact that there are several similar-looking Xeroxed pages in my file pit, all with different, luscious cake recipes. If this recipe did not come from my old boss, then your guess is as good as mine from whence it came. Maybe it came from the Holy Spirit. I dunno, I’ve never been super clear on what He/She/It actually does, but maybe part of its heavenly mission is to drop cake recipes into unsuspecting file pits. I’m not going to claim I know what goes on beyond my eyes and human limitations.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen this photo. Oh well.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen this photo. Oh well.

With the addition of the chocolate chips, this cake has a fabulously soft and moist crumb. The peanuts add a nice salty crunch, and work better than I think almonds would, as in a traditional rocky road ice cream. Also, it’s a bundt cake, and who doesn’t love a good bundt? What is incredibly disappointing, however, is that the mini marshmallows melt completely into the cake (adding to that good crumb) so you have none of the lovely bits of mallow like you get in the ice cream. Which, coincidentally, is my favorite part of the ice cream.

Would I make this again? Yes, because it’s too easy not to. Would I figure out a way next time to get the marshmallows to not melt into oblivion? For sure. Do I think Young McPolish was right to throw this recipe in the file pit? Absolutely.

Again with the crappy, cell phon photo. So sorry.

Again with the crappy cell phone photo. So sorry.

csb august: monkey bread

29 Aug

You guys.

It’s like a miracle. A Baking! Miracle!

Okay, not really.

But I’ve got to say, I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself that I was able to sack up and make cakes up two months in a row.

Even if I wasn’t able to get them posted on the appropriate date.



So a few weeks back, on a lovely Sunday morning (or it was possibly Saturday. I don’t really know, honestly. Nor do I care OH GET ON WITH THE STORY ALREADY, LADY.), I stumbled downstairs and gathered the ingredients for this month’s cake, which is lovingly known as monkey bread.

Later, after eating a healthy portion of the bread, Dad was curious to know why I called it monkey bread, he’d always heard it called pecan rolls or something, I can’t really recall because I’d tuned him out by that point.

What? Oh, right, like you listen to every word YOUR dad says.

Anyshoes, I gave him a vague answer about monkeys needing things that they could peel apart easily with their feet and then yelled, “IT’S BANANAS, DAD!” and wandered away to get a Diet Pepsi.*

So! On to the cake. I won’t lie to you, Interwebers—after linking up all of the cake escapades I’ve had this year and realizing that I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded, I fully expected this baking adventure to make like Katy Perry’s last Friday night and need a ginger ale to recover from the epic fail.

But surprisingly? It was not an epic fail. EVEN WITH THE MODIFICATIONS I MADE!

Modification #1: I don’t care for raisins in my baked goods. So I left them out.

Modification #2: I don’t really like walnuts in my baked goods, either. So I used almonds. AND LIFE WAS GOOD.

That being said, in full disclosure I should also add that I think it wasn’t a complete success, either. Much of which might have to do with the fact that I was using the baking ingredients at my parents’ house.

Some of which have been there since the 1990s.

Which, in case you’re not good at math, was a long time ago.

So I can’t really speak to their effectiveness.

But on the plus side—nothing exploded, so there’s that.

On the minus side, nothing seemed to rise very much. And I don’t know if it was just the size of the ice cream scoop I was using, or if I shortchanged the quantities of the flour, sugar, et al, but I barely got two rows of dough balls (heh. BALLS!) out of the batter. In fact, it was more like 1.5 rows.

Also, I’m thinking that toasting the almonds before sprinkling them over the dough balls (BALLS! Heh.) would have been a good idea, because you know what’s not delicious? Raw almonds. They’re kind of…chewy. Even when they’ve been baked with dough.

So, you know. Good things to keep in mind.

If you’re not too busy shoving your face with this cake.


I won’t judge you. I mean, come on, have you been reading these cake posts AT ALL? There is no room for judging over here at McPolish.

So just be quiet and have another slice.

You’re welcome.

*I didn’t actually do any of that. But were you to ask my father, he’d most likely agree that it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that I’d do something like that.


Monkey Bread—From Cake Keeper Cakes

For the topping:

1/2 cup (4oz/ 113g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3/4 cup light brown sugar

For the cake:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

9 tbsp (4.5 oz) unsalted butter, chilled

3 cups plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk, plus more if necessary

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup raisins


1. Make the topping: Whisk together the melted butter and light brown sugar.  Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease a non-stick 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour.

3. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a zipper-top bag.  Cut the butter into 1/4-inch dice.  Place the butter in a small bowl and set it in the freezer while you gather together the rest of the cake ingredients.

4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add the chilled butter pieces and, with an electric mixer, mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the buttermilk until the mixture just comes together, adding an extra tbsp or two if the mixture is too dry.

5. Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to scoop up balls of dough and transfer them to the zipper-top bag.  Shake the bag to coat the balls with cinnamon sugar.

6. Place the coated balls of dough in the prepared pan, sprinkling walnuts and raisins over them as you go.  Pour the melted butter mixture over the cake.  Bake until the cake is firm and well risen and the caramel is melted, 35 to 40 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a serving platter and serve immediately.

7. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to a day.

csb cake june: shenandoah valley blueberry cake

20 Jun



Do you KNOW how MUCH I LOVED making this CAKE for June?


Do you know WHY?

No. Frosting. Involved.

Which, though, when you think about it, is kind of sacrilegious when it comes to cake. I mean, let’s face it. Who makes a cake without frosting? As much as I clearly am horrible with the frosting techniques, I do believe the frosting is an essential part of the cake.

So while I was shocked and pleased in reading this month’s recipe to learn that there was no frosting involved, I couldn’t just let it be…plain. Fanciness is my middle name.

Actually, that’s a lie. It’s Veronica.

So I fancied it up a little at the end. You’ll see what I mean shortly.

But first, Interwebers, I have a secret to tell you.

I really, really dig blueberries.

And I live within a short drive to the Shenandoah Valley. Not that I went there to collect blueberries, because I actually went to a local farmers market, but whatever, I could have if I wanted to.

And this was probably the easiest freaking cake I’ve ever made. And it’s like it was tailor made just for me.

So that was actually multiple secrets. Sorry. I just get on a roll sometimes. I’d be a horrible secret agent. (“Do you like my lipstick? It’s really a camera! I’m taking photos of your nefarious deeds right now!”)

Now, the directions tell you to mix all this stuff together like you would any normal cake, and dump it in a pan and throw it in the oven, easy-peasy and you’re done. And while I’m all for easy-peasy, the thoughts crossing through my mind…well, I was kind of feeling the same way I was about the frosting. Like, “Ril-lay? I’m off the hook?

So I decided to make it a little more complicated for myself than it really needed to be.

Because if you know me at all, you know that I am the queen of making shit more complicated than it needs to be.

I’m lucky that way.

But it gave me an excuse to use my mini-bundt pans! And I luuuurv my mini-bundt pans! They are the wave of the future!

I was a little worried that I’d somehow cock up the end product, as when I filled the bundt pans, the cake batter was quite thick, and not terribly spready and loose like a cake batter you’d get from a box mix. I should know by now to just trust the recipes, but instead I fretted and set about wringing my hands for awhile after I put the cakes in the oven, worrying that they wouldn’t bake well, that they wouldn’t fluff up, that they just wouldn’t…wouldn’t.

I needn’t have worried.


They even turned out of the pans easily, which is I guess what happens when you coat the ever loving shit out of pans with cooking spray.

I have to tell you. I may be the smartest girl on the planet. Not that you’re not smart as well, Interwebers, because you are, and I am mad jealous of your brilliance, but in this particular instance I was certainly the most smartest ever. Because this mini-bundt cake version of the cake, well, it was simply ideal. The girls were coming over that night for dinner, and throwing the cake into mini-bundt pans meant that we each got to have our own little cake. And FYI, this recipe perfectly divvies up into six mini-bundt pans. And since there are only five of us, well, you do the math. (1+1+2+1+17, carry the B, minus 12 = The Swede got to have the leftover mini-bundt, even though he is not, by TND law, allowed to participate in TNDs. But I was nice enough to save it in some Tupperware for him.)

Now, as I previously mentioned, this is a cake sans frosting, and that just wouldn’t do. So as the girls sat in the other room chitchatting and talking smack about various and sundry things, as you do at dinner parties, I whipped some heavy whipping cream into a frenzy with a little almond extract (because I couldn’t find the vanilla) (which, actually, I don’t recommend the almond, because it gave the whipped cream a somewhat strange edge, and not that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t my favorite).

And voila!

A dollop for all.

I’d like you all to note a couple of things:

A)    There were no mishaps or missing ingredients for this go-round of cake baking

2) I don’t think I used the word fuck once in this summary of the experience

III) And, errrm….yeah. The above two are incredibly huge for me. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back and promise you that next time, I guarantee something will go wrong. Perhaps some sort of splattering incident that will lose me the security deposit return on my apartment if I ever move out.

Clearly it’s the dawn of a new baking day.

June’s Cake: Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake

Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake

(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)


1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1/3 cup butter, softened

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)


Heat the oven to 375F and generously grease a 9 inch square or round pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and stir with a fork to mix well. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat with a mixer at high speed until well combined. Add the egg and beat well for 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl until the mixture is smooth and light.

Stir in half the flour mixture then half the milk, mixing just enough to keep the batter fairly smooth and well combined. Add the remaining flour, then the rest of the milk, mixing gently. Stir in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden, springs back when touched gently in the centre and is pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Serve a square of cake right from the pan, warm or at room temperature. If its round, let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack or folded kitchen towel for 10 minutes and then turn it out to cool, top side up.