Sunday, August 8, 2010

An Effervescent Fix to Blandness

I must admit that I have been quite remiss in my blogging duties as of late, but I can attribute this to having had an extremely fun 2 weeks filled with camping, bowling, and more with a visiting friend. Even so, I still had the time (and the energy) to bake several creations. One of these was for a friend's birthday which, given the events of the week, I almost forgot entirely (oops!) As a result, I needed a recipe that was both fast and had relatively few ingredients. But I wasn't about to go buy a Betty Crocker mix and call it day, so this recipe also needed to live up to my own standards in taste and texture. Solution? A simple pound cake would have done the trick, but I wanted something with a wow factor to it. It was then I remembered a recipe I had always wanted to try due to use of an unconventional ingredient: a 7-Up Cake.
I imagine you are now having the same reaction as I upon first hearing about this cake. 7-Up in a cake? As silly as it sounds, this cake is one hell of a cake (pardon the French) when one's in a hurry. Who would have thought that the incorporation of carbonated soda into a traditional pound cake batter would create such an amazing texture!? For a recipe with six ingredients, this cake's simplicity is hardly that in taste.
I made a few changes cake based on my own preferences. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of butter (I imagine your cholesterol was not happy with that last sentence). In my experience, this much butter yields very dense cake. While some do enjoy this texture, it was not quite what I had in mind. As such, I used 1/2 cup shortening + 1 cup butter to achieve a lighter texture but still allow the butter's flavor to be prominent. The second change was to use 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in lieu of the lemon extract (which I don't own, nor plan to). The addition of more liquid was a safe decision thanks to my substitution of shortening for butter. This is because butter is approximately 20% water, 80% fat, while shortening is 100% fat, providing room for additional liquid if need be. I also made a simple glaze for the cake for presentation purposes.

7-Up Cake with Simple Glaze
Adapted from
Serves 12

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverages
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-5 tbsp lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverages

For cake: Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, then the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour, then fold in the 7-Up beverage.

Pour into a well-greased 12 cup Bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 60 to 75 minutes, checking at 55 minutes to ensure even baking. Cool for at least 30 minutes before removing the cake from the pan.

For glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar with the 7-Up beverage, adding more or less to reach desired consistency. Pour over cake and allow to set before serving.

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