CakeLove: Mojito Pound Cake

May 19, 2008 · 53 comments · Print This Post

in Baked Goods, Cake, Cookbook Reviews, Desserts, Reviews

I Can't Believe I Made This!

UPDATE:  Don’t forget!  You have until Noon (EST) on May 23 to enter the contest to win your very own copy of CakeLove.  Simply follow this link and leave a comment.  It couldn’t be easier.

You may be familiar with Warren Brown from reruns of his show Sugar Rush on the Food Network, or perhaps if you’re lucky enough to reside in D.C. you might have had the pleasure of sampling some of his creations and original recipes at one of his highly regarded CakeLove bakeries. For those of us living outside of personal shopping distance you’re in luck as Warren has recently released a gorgeous cookbook dedicated to the art of making some of his most popular CakeLove recipes.

I don’t use the term “art” loosely.  These cake are involved masterpieces.  Don’t be lulled into complacency by the brightly colored layout and upbeat color schemes.  The pages of this book may be designed to imply simplicity and ease but in reality this cookbook is more boot camp than day camp.   Ok…so the boot camp might be run by Vin Diesel’s character in The Disney movie The Pacifier, and not a four star general, but these recipes still mean business and attention to detail is key.

Fortunately, Brown gives you all of the tools to succeed including very detailed recipe instructions, step-by-step images when appropriate, and helpful tips and tricks.  But in the end it’s all up to you.  Thanks to jaw dropping photography and tantalizing recipe options like Stout Pound Cake with Roasted Pecans, Tres Leches Butter Cake, and Hazelnut Spice Sponge Cake your body will no doubt go into pure craving mode, and the ambition to taste one of these fanciful creations will give you all the motivation you’ll need to power through the recipe.

After examining the cookbook I decided to attempt the decidedly Summer appropriate Mojito Pound Cake.  To answer your burning question, yes, it really does taste like a Mojito!  Actually it tastes like a great Mojito, not one of those ghastly drinks you get from a hurried bartender because they think you’re a jerk for ordering one in the middle of a rush, but a carefully made, simple syrup, and mint muddled Mojito that makes you sit back and say, “Ahhhhh…”

In all seriousness though, I can’t believe I made this cake and I definitely couldn’t have done it without this amazingly thorough text.  There’s nothing semi-homemade about these recipes.  They’re all butter, flour, cream, and eggs through and through.   Sure they take a little more time and effort but the quality and taste of a cake made from scratch isn’t even in the same league as your basic boxed Betty Crocker.

Nom Nom Nom...

Mojito Pound Cake with Rum-Flavored Italian Meringue Buttercream (Based on the recipe originally published in CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch by Warren Brown)

Dry
2 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 whole cloves (ground into a fine powder)
1/3 cup oven dried mint crumbled

Liquid
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon limoncello
1 lime outer rind removed and segmented

Creaming
2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups extra-fine granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lime zest
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

Note:  The actual recipe, including notes is three pages long.  Below is my condensed version.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Incorporated all of the dry ingredients into a bowl, whisk briefly,  and set aside. Incorporate all of the liquid ingredients into a bowl, whisk briefly,  and set aside.  Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, and yolks into separate bowls and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) cream together the butter, sugar, and lime zest on the lowest setting for 4 to 5 minutes.

With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the yolks, fully incorporating after each addition.

Add the dry ingredient mixture, alternating with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture.  Move swiftly through this step to avoid overworking the batter.  Don’t wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next.  This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl (don’t miss the clumps of ingredients hiding on the bottom of the bowl).  Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batters structure.

Prepare the cake pans.  For 9-inch-round cakes, line the bottom of each pan with parchment.  Note:  The recipe says not to spray the pans with cooking spray, but I did.  I wasn’t willing to take any chances on this cake sticking to the pan.  Deposit the batter evenly into the pans and smooth out with an offset spatula, making sure the pans are two-thirds full.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes.  Note:  My cakes took about 35 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and cool to room temperature on a wire rack, about 25 to 30 minutes before removing from the pan.  Loosen the cake gently from the pan with a small offset spatula and invert onto a flat surface.  Remove the parchment from the bottom of each cake and wrap the layers tightly in plastic.  You can refrigerate the layers overnight or up to 5 days before frosting.  Note:  I’m very impatient and only left my layers in the fridge for 2 hours.  It seemed to work fine for me!

Rum-Flavored Italian Meringue Buttercream

5 egg whites
1 1/4 cups extra-fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
2 to 4 tablespoons of dark rum (to taste)

Set out the ingredients and the equipment.

Separate the egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment.  Measure 1 cup sugar and the water into a 1-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Gently stir with the candy thermometer to combine.  Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar into a small bowl and set aside.  Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and set aside in a medium bowl.

To make the sugar syrup, place the candy thermometer in the saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat.  Partially cover with a lid to capture the evaporating water-this helps to moisten the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

With the mixer on high speed, begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks.  When the peaks are stiff you have a meringue.  Keep the mixer running and pour the 1/4 cup of sugar into the meringue.

Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245 degrees, if it is not there already.  When the syrup is at 245 degrees, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue.

After 1 or 2 minutes reduce the mixer speed to medium for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the meringue is cooled.  Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  Increase the mixer speed to high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated.   Finally add in the dark rum and spread onto your pound cake.  Decorate as desired.   Note:  I used fresh mint and Turbinado sugar.

Mojito Cake!  Yum!

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rachel May 19, 2008 at 8:02 am

That is a really impressive cake! Yum!

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2 Amy May 19, 2008 at 8:47 am

It’s beautiful, Erin! I love mojitos, going to have to give this a try. I remember watching that show on FN.

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3 anna May 19, 2008 at 8:51 am

Wowzers. Can I come over later for a slice???

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4 Erin May 19, 2008 at 10:00 am

Rachel & Amy – Thank you both! It was a serious labor of love.

Anna – Sorry :( I sent it all to work with Mr. Kelly this morning. It was an upped pant size waiting to happen! I bet if you text him though he can save you a piece.

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5 CK May 19, 2008 at 10:46 am

I will bring you back a slice Ms. Anna, if you so desire!

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6 Elle May 19, 2008 at 11:41 am

Erin, it’s gorgeous!

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7 katy May 19, 2008 at 11:52 am

yum! super creative and absolutely gorgeous! what exactly is potato starch? is it similar to cornstarch?

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8 L May 19, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I’ve been to CakeLove a few times, but their cakes aren’t very moist. It’s probably because they keep them chilled for so long.

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9 Erin May 19, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Elle – Thank you! It tasted pretty “gorgeous” too.

Katy – I had never used potato starch and had to buy it specifically for this recipe. Warren uses it in a lot of his cakes. Apparently it’s supposed to keep the crumb moist and light: http://www.cakelove.com/glossary.php
Kitchen science baffles me.

He doesn’t recommend using cornstarch in place of potato starch. I found it at Whole Foods in the specialty foods aisle…I think in the Asian section.

L – The majority of the recipes in the books are for pound cakes or other very heavy dense cakes so that would explain the lack of fluffy moist texture. And the mojito cake was definitely firm when it was refrigerated but softened up when set out. In reality those firm cakes are way easier to work with decorating and presentation wise.

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10 Ari May 19, 2008 at 3:02 pm

That was delicious! I found a big slice of something in the cake part that appeared to be lime, though.

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11 Lorri May 19, 2008 at 3:07 pm

The only thing missing was a REAL mojito to wash this wonderful dessert down!

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12 Erin May 19, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Ari – Thanks for the feedback Ari! That’s a little embarrassing about the big chunk of lime though. Oops! I guess the mixer didn’t break all the slices up completely. I wondered about that… You’ll have to forgive me it was my first try. I’ll make sure they’re diced up a little smaller next time :)

Lorri – Honestly, I think Mojitos are pretty much what’s missing from every work day. Glad you liked the cake!

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13 Cze-Johnson Carrie May 19, 2008 at 4:13 pm

wow. that’s all I can say.

and you’ll have to retract your comment about the things you post being easy enough for anyone to make. that cake is ridonkulous. in a good way, of course!

again.. wow. beautiful job.

ps.. 2nd picture? makes me want to stalk you and beg to move in with bribes of ikea spending cash. just saying.

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14 Hänni May 19, 2008 at 4:16 pm

woah mama. that’s one serious cake! kudos. you are a better bakerella than i could ever be.

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15 Cheryl May 19, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Oh, wow! I love a good mojito, so this cake is right up my alley! Adding it to my never ending list of things to bake!

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16 mimi May 19, 2008 at 7:10 pm

ymmm … mojito cakes sound perfect!! yours looks great! i’d love to try these as cupcakes for a summer garden party.

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17 geeky May 19, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Mojitos in cake form? What could be better! This cake is beautiful, and I bet it tastes twice as good as it looks. Yum!

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18 syrie May 19, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Erin, this looks fantastic. Love your pics and wish I could have a piece.

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19 cookinpanda May 19, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Gorgeous photos! Sounds like a book to buy…

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20 michelle @ TNS May 19, 2008 at 10:27 pm

i’ve made mojito cupcakes, but they were a much simpler affair – plain white cake soaked with a rum/mint/lime simple syrup. this cake looks superior in all respects.

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21 Tarah May 19, 2008 at 11:02 pm

This looks awesome! Perfect for summer!

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22 farida May 20, 2008 at 1:28 am

Erin, you did such a good job! Looks really good. Yummy! I like your simple toping – mint add a nice touch.

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23 Erin May 20, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Farida – Thank you! I wish I could take credit for coming up with the topping decorating scheme but I really just followed the pretty presentation in the cookbook.

Tarah – Thank you! I hope you get a chance to try it in your kitchen.

Michelle – Thank you! It was a ton of work. I think it would be easier to make a second time though now that I know what to expect. Although, I’m not sure if my psyche could take it anytime soon.

Panda – If you’re interested in the book you might want to check back at my blog tomorrow …

Syrie – Thanks so much for stopping by my food blog and for the great compliment on my cake. There’s nothing I like to hear more than someone wishing they could have sampled a bite of something I made. I hope you’ll consider giving the recipe a try!

Geeky – I know, right?! What could be better than baked goods that taste like fabulous booze. My heart seriously did a cartwheel when I saw this recipe. I hope you get a chance to try it out.

Mimi – I’d love to hear if this cake works as cupcakes. I have some reservations about it since it is a pound cake, but as long as you’re fine with a firmer cupcake it should be fine. At the very least that rum buttercream is to die for and should definitely be used as frequently as possible on cupcakes.

Cheryl – Thanks for stopping by my blog! I have one of those seemingly endless “to bake, cook, and try” lists too. I’m honored to be included on yours now though :)

Carrie & Hänni – You are both so invited over to dinner now. You guys can bring the cake :P

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24 Kathy Czernikowski May 21, 2008 at 6:11 pm

WOW!!!!
I am so not a baker, but I’m going to give this one a try.
My daughter, Carrie, told me to drop in to your website and I am totally impressed. Great pictures!! Now I want a taste!!!

Kathy Czernikowski

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25 Tori May 21, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Erin,
This is a creative and impressive recipe. I think I will make this and bring it to the Memorial Day picnic…perfect!

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26 Kara May 22, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Thanks for the info. I’ve been waiting for someone to try a recipe from the cookbook. I’ve researched the whole potato starch issue and have been using lately in my baking and it makes a difference. But, I think the chilling of the cake does make a huge difference.

Anyway, the cake looks delish and I hope I win the cookbook!!!

Thanks for the contest.

Kara

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27 Pam May 23, 2008 at 12:05 am

Yet another addition to my long list of to-try-recipes. Thanks for sharing :) I wish they could come up with a way of touching /tasting what you can see on your PC screen so I can taste this cake!

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28 Noish May 23, 2008 at 2:56 pm

What makes this a pound cake instead of just a plain layer cake?

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29 Patti May 23, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Hey Erin, your beautiful cake was the Serious Eats Required Eating Photo of the Day for May 22!!! Look here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/seriouseats/requiredeating/~3/296124929/photo-of-the-day-nom-nom-nom-mojito-cake.html

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30 Renee May 25, 2008 at 2:45 pm

I’m going to make this for a shower. I thought I would make it a two-tiered cake with a bigger and then a somewhat smaller layer. The pans I am thinking of using are somewhat curved at the edges. Think that would work? Or would I have problems getting the layers to come out of the pans. I will use parchment at the bottom and butter and flour or the cake spray. Did you have any trouble getting your layers out?

And one more question. Does he want you to refrigerate the layers? Or is that optional? Seems like it would make things easier to make the cake one day and the frosting the day of the event.

Thanks! Your cake is truly beautiful and I am looking forward to trying this.

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31 Erin May 27, 2008 at 8:21 am

Hi Renee,

I definitely don’t see any problems making this cake as a two-tiered version. As long as you use parchment and some kind of lubricant on the pans (butter, cooking spray) you’ll be fine. Warren did recommend refrigerating the layers for at least 4 hours and said you can keep them refrigerated for several days before decorating. I’d definitely take his advice. Making the cake, the icing, and decorating all on one day was pretty exhausting.

Good luck!

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32 Renee May 30, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Any tips on oven drying the mint? What would you think about using purchased dried mint instead? Or a bit of mint extract?

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33 Erin May 31, 2008 at 10:16 am

Renee – The recipe called for drying your own mint. I don’t have the cookbook anymore but I’m sure if you “google” how to dry mint in your oven at home there will be some great tips. Off hand I think that I had my oven at 350 degrees. I wrapped the mint in aluminum foil and placed a small slit in package with the seams face up on the middle rack. Then I cooked it at 10 minute intervals until it seemed suitably dried. I definitely wouldn’t use dried mint from the spice aisle. It wont have the same level of pungency. On the up side, your whole house will smell like mint while you’re drying it in the oven.

Hope this was helpful!

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34 Flanboyant Eats May 31, 2008 at 1:48 pm

this is so lovely. i will be making this for sure… wow…

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35 Flanboyant Eats May 31, 2008 at 1:50 pm

oh and CakeLove was the talk of town when he opened…i was living in DC at the time. He’s now just opened one up about 5 minutes from my parents house in Va. I can’t wait to visit it… I’ll let you know when I go by next time…

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36 narendhar June 21, 2008 at 12:18 am

what a great website.cake is very tasty.thankyou for your
recipie.

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37 Jackie March 3, 2009 at 9:54 am

Hi Erin

In your instructions you to zest and segment the lime, the zest goes in with butter mixture what do you do with the lime meat,there is no instructions what to do with it.

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38 Louise May 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I have made the cake – it was a huge success. But I found it very difficult to dry the mint. It got very damp and took over 30 minutes to dry out. Any suggestions? Louise

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39 peg December 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I tried the pouch drying as well and the mint got really soggy. I tried another batch and just dried it on a cookie sheet….it worked much better and was alot quicker.

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40 Michelle June 23, 2009 at 3:56 pm

I can’t wait to make this for the 4th!! Any chance he mentioned substituting Arrowroot starch for the potato starch?

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41 peg December 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm

I have read online that you can substitute arrowroot for the potato starch. I have not personally tried it…..but I was looking because I live on an island and it is pretty hard to find any specialty baking ingredients in stock….or ones that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Bob’s Red Mill has all kinds of great products, reasonable pricing and pretty inexpensive shipping.

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42 Karima November 23, 2009 at 11:37 am

I thought this recipe would be great to try out for Thanksgiving or Christmas ,something boozy and different is always great!

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43 Kath January 31, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday yesterday. It got rave reviews! My word of advice to anyone trying this: it takes more fresh mint than you think to get 1/3 cup dried! But it came out well.

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44 Jacqui May 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I recieved cup cakes from cake love for a gift everyone loved them we almost had a food fight. Iwould love to try to make cupcakes that taste soooo good. It looks like it might be a challenge, maybe I could take the challange. Love your goodies. Keep up the good work and making people smile.

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45 Martine June 13, 2013 at 10:40 am

Wow!! A mojito cake!

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46 Martine July 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Hi,
What do you mean with the ingrediënt : 1/4 cup half-and-half ?
Thanks for your reply!

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