What is queque seco?
Similarly to pound cake, queque seco is traditionally made with a pound of each of the following ingredients: flour, margarine (or butter), sugar and eggs. This dish also includes such ingredients as baking powder, salt, rum and raisins. Other important additions are vanilla essence and lemon or orange juice that are used to increase the flavor of the cake.
Costa Ricans countrywide pride themselves on their typical dessert queque seco, Costa Rican pound cake, a lighter and drier version than the pound cakes to which Americans are generally accustomed. Costa Rican queque seco comes in rum and raisin, orange, lemon and other flavors, with a sweet syrup of course.
Traditionally, Costa Ricans eat lots of honey-based sweets during Easter week, the most important holiday week of the year, as it is in most central American countries. Unlike Roman Catholic America, where people traditionally gave up candy and cut out or cut down on sweets during the 40-day Lenten period leading up to an including holy week, consumption of sweets in predominantly Roman catholic central America actually increases.
What is the difference between a sponge cake and a pound cake?
There might be more kinds of cakes in the world than you could sample in a lifetime, but most of them fall into two categories: foam and butter.
Foam cakes are comprised of flour, sugar, eggs, butter (in some cases) and flavoring. They get their light, fluffy texture from air beaten into egg whites, and, as a bonus, they’re not as unhealthy as other types of cake. Some are completely fat free, but those containing whole eggs (like sponge cake) or butter (like génoise and gâteau) have a slight amount of fat. If a cake is air-leavened, it isn’t considered butter cake even if it contains butter.
Butter cakes, such as pound cakes, depend on a chemical leavening product such as baking soda or baking powder. Of course, butter cakes tend to contain significant quantities of butter (or margarine or shortening), which adds firmness and heft. Otherwise, the ingredient list is similar to foam cakes: flour, sugar, butter and flavoring.
A Bundt cake is any type of cake cooked in a Bundt pan. You may be eye rolling or saying “duh,” but there are quite a few differences between a Bundt and regular cake pan. To start, Bundts can come in all different shapes, sizes, and designs (though round with grooved edges is certainly the most popular).
Pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a Bundt mold, and served either dusted with powdered sugar, lightly glazed, or sometimes with a coat of icing.
What is the origin of pound cake?
It is believed that the pound cake is of northern European origin that dates back to the early 1700s. A recipe for pound cake is in the first American cookbook, American Cookery, which was published in 1796.
Over time, the ingredients for pound cake changed. Eliza Leslie, who wrote the 1851 edition of Direction for Cookery, used 10 eggs, beat them as lightly as possible, mixed them with a pound of flour, then added the juice of two lemons or three large oranges. This changed the flavor and texture of the cake. In the 2008 issue of Saveur, James Villas wrote that cake flour would not work in place of all-purpose flour because it lacks the strength to support the heavy batter.
An early variation on this cake replaced some of the flour with cornmeal made from dried corn (maize), which was then called Indian meal. A recipe for Indian pound cake was first published in 1828 by Eliza Leslie and later included in The Indian Meal Book, which was published in London in 1846, when people in Ireland were looking for alternatives to expensive wheat flour.
What are the variants of pound cake?
There are numerous variations on the traditional pound cake, with certain countries and regions having distinctive styles. These can include the addition of flavoring agents (such as vanilla extractor, almond extract) or dried fruit (such as currants or dried cranberries), as well as alterations to the original recipe to change the characteristics of the resulting pound cake. For instance, baking soda or baking powder may be incorporated to induce leavening during baking, resulting in a less dense pound cake.
A cooking oil (typically a vegetable oil) is sometimes substituted for some or all of the butter, which is intended to produce a moister cake. Sour cream pound cake is a popular variation in the United States, which involves the substitution of sour cream for some of the butter, which also is intended to produce a moister cake with a tangy flavor. Some of these variations may drastically change the texture and flavor of the pound cake, but the name pound cake is often still used. Some of the variations are described below.
In Mexico, the pound cake is called panqué. The basic recipe of Mexican panqué is much like the traditional U.S. recipe. Most common variants are panqué con nueces (pound cake with walnuts) and panqué con pasas (pound cake with raisins).
Ponqué is the Venezuelan and Colombian version of the pound cake: the term ponqué is itself a Spanish phonetic approximation of pound-cake. The ponqué is essentially a wine-drenched cake with a cream or sugar coating, and it is very popular at birthdays, weddings and other social celebrations.
The dry queque is the cake of the Costa Ricans, also known with the name of butter or pancake in other Latin American countries. This version of this delicate cake, which is usually flavored with oranges, is flavored with mace and topped with chopped nuts. To give it a special touch, sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
Enjoy this pound cake with the ones you love for breakfast, brunch, or midnight snacking. This is a buttery, slightly drier pound cake made with the juice of fresh oranges.
Be sure to glaze this cake while it’s still warm so that the syrup is easily absorbed. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy this light, citrus-flavored Costa Rican dessert.
This recipe is validated by Chef Randy Siles Leandro, first Ambassador of Costa Rica’s National Plan for Sustainable and Healthy Gastronomy. Randy is the owner and creator of OS restaurant, cofounder of Autóktono and founder of Academia Artesanos de la Gastronomía in Costa Rica.
- 3½ cups flour , sifted
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- Zest of an orange
- ½ cup orange juice , freshly squeezed
- 1¼ cup butter (very soft)
- 1¾ cup sugar
- 8 eggs
- A pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter (for the mold)
- 1 tablespoon flour (for the mold)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (ideally convection).
- Separate the eggs.
- In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.
- In another bowl, mix the butter, sugar and salt. When this mixture is creamy, add the 8 egg yolks one by one, while continuing to whisk.
- Add the sifted flour, orange juice and zest and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently fold to the previous mixture.
- Grease and flour a bundt springform pan of about 10 to 12 inches diameter.
- Pour the mixture in the pan.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until the tip of a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.