This weekend I witnessed one of the sweetest things a person can (aside from childbirth, maybe). It's the moment when the double doors of the church open, the bride and her father square their shoulders and step forward down the aisle toward her future and her waiting groom. It's that moment when her eyes lift to his, when her smile widens into a grin she can't help but keep for the rest of her walk. It's her father's eyes watering, her feet fighting her heart's urge to run toward the alter, and the piercing stillness around her as we all look on - staring like Peeping Tom's into this private exchange between a couple in love.
I cry at this moment in the wedding every time. Every time. This year I cried at my friend Sarah's wedding, my friend Dave's wedding, even at two weddings where I didn't even know the bride. And this past weekend, I cried at my friend Elizabeth's wedding, because that moment is one of the sweetest and most pure I can think of.
I caught up on some magazine reading during my flight home from Cinci-tucky and Food & Wine's piece on favorite new dessert cookbooks stood out sweetly as a first kiss. The Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake was the winner (I blame growing up in Germany for my nutty sweet tooth), and after unpacking from the weekend, I pulled my standing mixer out for a little Sunday night baking.
I've struggled with pound cakes in the past - they're always too dry and crumbly or... too dry and crumbly. But this cake from Lauren Chattman's Cake Keeper Cakes popped out of the loaf pan easily and is perfectly moist and deliciously swirled with chocolately goodness. It might not be as sweet as Elizabeth and Kelby's first married kiss, but it will satisfy us single gal's in a pinch.
Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake
Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman by way of Food & Wine
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
One 13-ounce jar Nutella
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer (I used my KitchenAid standing mixer with a paddle attachment), beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.
Spread one-third of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutella on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter with a butter knife. Do not overmix (I was worried about overmixing, so I didn't swirl enough, make sure to get your swirl going!).
Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.
Note: Chattman recommends serving with coffee ice cream and I think that would be absolutely heavenly.