I’ve been a fan of Martha Stewart since I can remember. Any time I was on vacation or home sick from school (more often than one might think), it was a treat to tune into Martha Stewart Living at 10 am. I’d relish in watching Martha and her guests craft, organize, and mostly cook. I’ve never been very into crafts. And while I am focusing much more of my energy on being super organized, I’ve always been pretty much mesmerized by cooking and baking on television, especially if it was Martha behind the stove.
Even when Martha was dealing with her controversy, I remained a fan. I followed Martha’s trial carefully and even wrote a research paper somewhere along the way about it. I still think she was a scapegoat or victim of circumstance but that’s neither here nor there. When Martha was back on TV with The Martha Stewart Show, I was thrilled. I’ve never missed an episode. It’s brought countless smiles to my face on good days and bad, inspired me in the kitchen and in life, and has led me to make some pretty outstanding recipes.
I’m sad that her show is over now without even a special celebration episode (come on, Hallmark Channel!), but I’m looking forward to the next great thing, and there will be many more great things, from Martha. While I love the Food Network and all the personalities there, it is perhaps mostly Martha who has inspired me. She loved cooking and crafting, worked hard at it, and somehow turned it into this empire. I look up to her, and though I have different goals and dreams in life, I hope I can turn them into a reality. I’ll save the empire building for until I have more than 80 followers on Twitter and a few hundred visits a day to my blog.
Martha has showed me that dreams come true. She has even rebuilt her empire and is still incredibly successful. If she can do all that she has, surely I can keep working and have my novels published and more visitors to my blog. I’ll be a fan of Martha forever, because knowing all that she has done gives me hope each day that my time is just around the corner.
One of the best things about Martha is that she is truly insanely talented. This Brown Sugar Walnut Pound Cake is just another example. I’ve wanted to make it for years. It’s the first time I’ve made pound cake and perhaps the first time I’ve had it since my last slice of Entenmann’s years and years ago.
The cake takes way longer to bake than the directions state, but that’s okay because the end result is stellar. The exterior becomes a deep golden brown and is kind of hard and crusty; this makes the perfect foil to the rich, dense, incredibly moist interior with the flavor of a traditional pound cake amped up with tons of dark brown sugar and the crunch of toasted walnuts, which I left in relatively large pieces. I’m glad I did that because they really add texture and character to the cake.
But as much as I love the cake, it’s the sauce that is the star and makes it completely craveable over and over again. I will include the full sauce recipe below, but I only made a quarter of it since I knew most of the cake was headed for the freezer; I also left out the heavy cream with great success, so I would highly recommend leaving it out. I will be making the sauce again and again every time I pull a piece of this out of the freezer or for anything else I can think to put it on.
This recipe is just another reason I love Martha Stewart. I hope she’d like my blog and think I’m headed somewhere wonderful if she ever gets the chance to look.
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 9 large eggs, room temperature (about 30 minutes out of refrigerator) and lightly beaten
- 2 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup pure maple syrup (I used Blis and it was AMAZING!)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream (optional, I would leave it out)
- 2-3 sliced peaches
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter 2 5 by 9 inch loaf pans.
- Make the cake. In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar using a hand or stand mixer on high until pale and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Scrape down bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to medium before adding vanilla. With mixer continuing to run on medium, add eggs in 4 installments, mixing after each addition. Reduce speed to low before adding flour in 4 installments. Mix until just incorporated. Finishing mixing by hand will likely be necessary. Fold in walnuts by hand.
- Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth with a spatula to make sure they are even on top. Bake about 70-80 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs, rotating halfway through if necessary. It took a full 80 minutes for my cakes to cook. Cool in pans about 30 minutes. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks completely.
- Make the sauce. In a medium saucepan combine maple syrup, sugar, butter, and salt. Cook over medium-high, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. If using cream stir it in and bring back to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the peaches. Allow to cool and thicken for 5 minutes.
- Cake may be stored at room temperature for 1 day or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours for a whole cake, or 1 hour for a slice. Thaw whole cakes in 325 degree F oven for about 30 minutes, or slices, wrapped in parchment for 10 minutes. The sauce should not be stored or frozen, but that’s just an excuse to make it again.