In other posts I have mentioned that I have a predilection for saving tin cans (I know, it’s pathetic.) and have turned them into pantry organizers and flower vases. Could they be used as interesting little baking tins? I could remember seeing date nut bread baked in a can, but I wanted to try a cake. I had saved a 28-ounce can that had held crushed tomatoes. Then I found a recipe for a small cake based on one egg, and tweaked it a bit, adding some chopped dried apricots and my favorite herb, rosemary. I really didn’t know–would the cake burn or overflow disastrously? The result really surprised me–the cake baked up perfectly, and is absolutely delicious. It has the moist, fine texture of a pound cake, and is studded with tart bites of apricot. The flavor of the rosemary is elusive, but delicious. I was able to whip up the cake with a spoon and pop it in the oven in about twenty minutes, and there was a definite fun factor–so it’s small, easy, delicious and fun. Doesn’t get any better!
By the way, I made the above vase with my Kinkajou Bottle Cutter, and stenciled it with a spray of flowers. I have yet to make a perfectly cut vase, but I’m getting closer!
Pound Cake in a Can
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
a splash of vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup half and half
6 dried apricots, chopped
a sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare your 28-ounce can. Wash and dry it meticulously, and using the bottom of the can as a pattern, cut a circle of waxed paper. Generously grease the can with shortening, and then press the waxed paper circle to the bottom of the can. Then there will be no doubt you will get the cake out of the pan!
In a medium-sized bowl, cream the softened butter with a big spoon. Add the sugar, and keep mixing. Add the egg, and beat thoroughly until light. Then add the chopped apricots and rosemary, and mix thoroughly until moistened. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt, and add it to the butter mixture alternating with the half and half. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Place the cake on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 50 minute or until the top tests completely done. Wait for about 15 minutes, and then run a knife around the cake and upend into your hand (covered with a dish towel), and then onto a plate.
Baking notes: I could see adding a handful of golden raisins that had been soaked in rum, along with the above additives. Or it could be made with chopped maraschino cherries and walnuts, or semi-sweet mini chips or candied lemon peel or . . . ? The one negative with this recipe is that it asks for the half and half, and I know that not everyone has that on hand. But I think it would be fine made with milk, buttermilk, almond milk, or soy milk, as long as they are full fat. I think using a nonfat milk would result in a dry cake.
Meanwhile, as I bake, there are always birds right outside the window, tempting me to grab the camera. Here is a little chickadee, looking adorable with crumbs of suet on his beak.
and here’s a downy woodpecker, in mid peck . . .
and lastly, a perennial sweet pea, clambering up the rose tower in my side garden. Namaste. Fran