In the universal cake house, the layering of a feast

We had guests today, so I baked pound cakes in fluted moulds, following a recipe [1] that is absolutely super easy with delicious outcomes. I adapted it to create a low sugar, but stronger vanilla version. Sour cream pound cake is a fine way to use any extra sour cream taking up space in the refrigerator.

It was when I unmoulded the cakes last night that I thought of how exquisite they looked, out of those rarely used bundt tins. I had enough time over the course of today to think of what this fine geometry should spark, a poem of sweet confections perhaps. The aroma of cake while rain is misting a garden feels a bit like the smoky woods, wise witches, cake castles, a cascade of the folkloric, Hansel, Gretel …

I remembered Alice Maud Krige, the elegant witch in the 2020 fantasy horror “Gretel and Hansel”, directed by Oz Perkins, based on the German folk tale, “Hansel and Gretel” by the Brothers Grimm. I thought of the indefatigable Gretel in the same movie. I realise that life is the stuff of stories, our well crafted fictions.

Alice Krige is forever imprinted on my mind as one of the ‘Sleepwalkers’ from the movie adapted off Stephen King’s unpublished story of the same name, a film featuring chameleon cars, unfeeling cats and a feeding complex tinged by the Oedipal. She fit into the 2020 ” Gretel and Hansel” like I would believe in water and salt. This movie also showcases a Gretel waiting to turn to the dark side, who is the perfect sister to her naive younger brother, brave as she is brusque. I thought this bundt cake should be dedicated to the wildness in Gretel as much as the counterpoint to her, in the malignant elegance of Holda, the older witch. So here’s to witches 🥂🍾

For Gretel, for Holda ...

In the woods of mysterious shapes
fluted soul confections exist
secreted into the dark matter
of a concentric existence,
baked like Bundt,
a universe within the world.

They stole the yolks to submerge
them in a bog of greasy labour,
the dust flour spirits of millennia
spool seasons in wild imaginings,
etch tablets, lay feasts for kings
and the lost offspring of man.

Here in the shape of sweet confections
they taste milk, vanilla, sweet berries.
She strode over thistle, a bramble bush
of experience, those yawning graves
and moaning plagues, pandemics,
until in the vortex, beaten in batter.

The saccharine curse of a gingerbread
ruse, beckoning like a copse of corpses.
When the fingertips are a tint of necrosis,
tales of sweet temptations spirit through
the peaty entrails of pillaged villages
torn asunder through billowing desire for

fluted castles, solid, sweet, aromatic
in the changeable woods and the wild
was therefore always a witch,
conjuring cake houses for mankind,
in layered feasts that adorn the table
and entice the palate,
to be desired, to be abhorred,
to be loved, to be scorned.
Here's the recipe:

1 cup butter (252 g), softened
2 1/2 cups fine white sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream, room temperature, beaten with 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease with butter and flour a 10 inch Bundt mould. Set the oven to 325°

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy for over 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture, alternate with the mixture of sour cream and vanilla. Beat on low until blended. Pour into the pan, level the mixture with a fork and bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Remember to cool in pan 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely, or the cake may stick to the pan. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar if desired.

[1] Adapted from the perfect recipe:

Sour Cream Pound Cake ~

According to Wikipedia which defines them quite well :

A pound cake is a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a Bundt mould. They are sometimes served either dusted with powdered sugar, lightly glazed, or with a coat of icing”. 

A Bundt cake is a cake that is baked in a Bundt pan, shaping it into a distinctive doughnut shape. The shape is inspired by a traditional European cake known as Gugelhupf, but Bundt cakes are not generally associated with any single recipe”. 

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