Juniper berries are used to flavor gin, but this recipe introduces the spice to pound cake. Note that this is a “traditional” pound cake. It is denser than the type you may find in contemporary supermarkets.
- 1 pound butter at room temperature
- 1 pound sugar
- 18 dried juniper berries
- 1 pound unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- .5 teaspoon salt
- 7 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or spray a 10” diameter tube pan and set it aside.
Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about one minute, until the butter lightens.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the juniper berries one or two at a time. Juniper berries can be difficult to grind and the ground berries have a tendency to clump. So, after each grinding, place a spoonful of the sugar into the mortar and continue grinding until the berry grounds are evenly distributed in the granulated sugar. Then dump the berry-and-sugar mixture into the mixing bowl and continue this process until all of the berries are ground. Scrape any sugar remaining in the mortar and on the pestle into the mixing bowl and put all of the unused sugar into the mixing bowl.
Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the butter and sugar for three minutes. Turn the mixer off and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the butter and sugar for an additional three minutes.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until the baking powder and salt are evenly distributed in the flour.
Add an egg and a few spoonfuls of flour to the mixer’s bowl. Turn the mixer to low and allow the egg, flour and butter to incorporate. Continue this until all eggs and flour are incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until spread throughout the batter. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat again ensuring all ingredients are incorporated.
Spread the batter in the tube pan and use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to even it out. Rap the bottom of the pan on a flat surface a few times to help the batter settle in the pan.
Bake for about one hour, until brown on top and the cake is firm when touched. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for ten minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.