Balsamic Chicken & Brown Sugar Pound Cake

After the success of the gougeres, I was eager to cook and bake something post-worthy before the next ffwD submission. My recently married college friend and sorority sister (Codename: GPL) gave me a cookbook entitled Worth Tasting: A Culinary Tour through the Architecture of the Palm Beaches. Inside includes noteworthy architectural locales through the Palm Beaches, including The Breakers Hotel, Worth Avenue, and Mar-a-Lago, and fun recipes utilizing ingredients like Key limes and fresh seafood. Since I’m in Chicago, I went with two recipes that used ingredients I can easily find here. First up, BALSAMIC CHICKEN. This recipe is really good if you want to jazz up your usual chicken breast fare. Though the syrupy onion mixture smells strong due to the balsamic vinegar, it ends up having a very mellow, sweet flavor. You can also slice the chicken in strips before adding the onions on top and place the whole thing on a bed of angel hair pasta.

Before the balsamic onion mixture

See the steam?

The plate of finished chicken breasts and onion mixture

An individaul serving

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 c. chicken broth
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Mix the flour, 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/2 tsp pepper in a sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken breasts one at a time and seal tightly. Shake to coat. Remove the chicken and shake off any excess flour mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the hot oil and saute for 4 minutes per side or until cooked through and golden brown. Remove to a platter using a slotted spoon, reserving the pan drippings. Cover the chicken to keep warm.

Saute the onion in the reserved pan drippings until slightly tender and brown. Stir in the broth, vinegar, thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/2 tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for 7 minutes or until the sauce is of a syrupy consistency and the onions are tender. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Ever since I purchased a loaf pan several weeks ago, I’ve been giddy to make pound cakes! And, oddly enough, because it’s getting cooler, nothing but pound cake recipes have crossed my path. But, I was intrigued by this recipe in the cookbook because it actually used one pound of brown sugar, which made the batter quite fluffy. And, it has a glaze…mmm…

The glaze is really what sets this cake apart. Not only does it give the cake a bit of moistness by soaking through the cake, but a nice “crust” forms on top that adds that bit of brown sugar sweetness that is surprisingly less pronounced in the cake. I didn’t allow my glaze to broil for very long because I have an oven that tends to overheat, and the hour and fifteen minute baking time made the outside of the cake look almost burnt. So, I didn’t want to chance it with a substantial amount of time under the broiler.

I will admit that because of the fluffiness of the batter, I had extra batter that had to be baked in a separate pan. This is probably my fault because when I read “pound cake”, I thought using my loaf pan would be good enough. Little did I realize that the “tube pan” in the recipe is also known as a bundt pan, which I have but never referred to as a tube pan, so I didn’t use it. Had I known that, then I probably could have fit all the batter in the bundt pan. But, I like my pound cake in the loaf shape better. Call me crazy.

See the sugary glaze?

3 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 c. vegetable oil (I used canola oil, and it turned out fine)
1 c. granulated sugar
1 (1 pound) package light brown sugar
5 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

To prepare the cake, sift the flour, baking powder & salt together. Combine the butter and oil in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the granulated sugar and brown sugar to the butter mixture gradually, beating constantly until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the milk, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla and stir in the nuts. Spoon the batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan (bundt pan!) and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and remove to a heatproof platter.

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chopped nuts to taste (optional)

To prepare the glaze, bring the brown sugar, oil, butter, milk and salt to a boil in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and nuts. Pour the hot glaze over the warm cake and broil until bubbly and light brown. Let stand until cool.

Serves 16.

Thanks again to my friend and The Junior League of the Palm Beaches for publishing Worth Tasting: A Culinary Tour through the Architecture of the Palm Beaches. It’s a great cookbook, and I’m excited to try more of the recipes!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Molly
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 15:13:58

    Fantastic recipes and cookbook!! Are you bringing me some goodies today? I can almost smell them baking!

  2. Sarah
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 16:00:12

    The chicken looks super tasty! I was really intrigued with the pound cake though. If I get done with studying, I might make this as a welcome home treat for the babies!

  3. Jessica
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 16:14:07

    I would like to try making the chicken. It sounds good. I may not use the angel hair pasta though. Also, the cake sounds like a good Thanksgiving dessert.

  4. Jaime
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 22:39:02

    This isnt fair! All the food blogs you’ve posted so far have been too much for my poor eyes (and stomach!) to handle. The solution to this is quite simple: Either you come out here for a week, or I find a way to come visit Chicago!

    Quite frankly, those onions look good enough to eat without the chicken.

    I’d definately like to see what you can make with anything infused in garlic!

  5. mimi
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 10:31:53

    This looks delicious, when can you come over and cook dinner for a family of five?

  6. Serene -
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 13:01:35

    Those look really good!

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