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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 3, 2008

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
On the hunt for the right cheddar cake

By
Advertiser Columnist

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Some months ago, a reader requested a light-textured cheddar cake she had sampled at a party butter cake, not cream cheese cake. This proved to be one of those rare occasions when even the Internet had little to say: I found two recipes for cheddar cake online and only one that seemed to fit her description.

Found on the Web site of the Loleta Cheese Factory in Loleta, Calif., this recipe went together in the usual fashion (cream butter and sugar, add eggs, add flour and liquid alternatively, add flavorings) and made a rather thickish batter that, while it was baking, smelled deliciously of caramelizing sugar and butter. The cake itself was reminiscent of the rather substantial cakes that accompany tea in Britain, with the salty cheddar offering a savory balance to the butter-sugar-egg richness.

I was at a loss as to how to serve the cake, though. Should it be frosted? Served in slices or fingers? Is it a savory or a sweet? In the end, I opted for topping the warm cake with a slightly piquant glaze (a jar of homemade guava-ginger-lemon jam given me by the late Advertiser columnist Maili Yardley's daughter, Laura, which I had been hoarding for two years). This idea came from the Spanish/Caribbean custom of serving salty-tart cheese with sweet guava puree. It worked well. My tasters noted that the cheese flavor in this cake is very faint; it's definitely on the dessert side of the menu, but without being overly sweet. A cream cheese frosting would probably be fabulous with this, if you're going for a sugar-and-fat knockout.

I'm not sure this is the cake the reader had in mind; she mentioned a chiffon texture. Next attempt: a basic chiffon recipe with the addition of 2/3-cup cubed cheddar.

CHEDDAR CAKE

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 2/3 cup cubed cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces, half a small block)

  • Jam, for glaze, if desired

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (spray with flour/oil baking spray or coat with butter).

    In a large bowl or using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.

    In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to batter, about one third at a time, beating until smooth. Finally, stir in cheese.

    Bake 45 minutes, until skewer or straw emerges clean.

    Top warm cake with a jar of guava, passionfruit, pineapple or other jam, if desired.

    Makes 18-20 servings.

    Per serving: 240 calories, 14 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 80 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 5 g protein

    Send recipes and queries to Wanda A. Adams, Food Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802. Fax: 525-8055. E-mail: wadams@honoluluadvertiser.com.

    For more information about our 150th anniversary cookbook, call 535-8189 (message phone; your call will be returned). You can order the cookbook online.