Fall into flavor: Velvet pound cake in our new pan

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Feeling a little squirrelly now that summer is over? Looking to stash away some great baking ideas for the fall holidays? Feel like tossing acorns at me to get me to stop already with the squirrel analogy?

Fire away friends, as long as you are using this sweet new Acorn pan to make your ammo.

With the holiday season on its way, it’s nice to have something that brings a little pizazz to the table, elevating our everyday recipes into something special. This easy to use Acorn pan takes your muffins and cake mixes and recipes to the next level.

First of all, who doesn’t love tiny bite-sized treats? Next, the delicate detailed design will have everyone ooohing and aaaahing over breakfast and your amazing baking skills, and who doesn’t love THAT?

There is nothing complicated about using this pan, and we’ve made muffins from scratch and from a mix in the pan. For the first photo, we used our Vermont Maple muffin mix and it was a big hit.

For a change, I decided to make our Velvet Pound Cake recipe in the pan. I knew that the outer crust of the cake turned a deep rich brown during baking and the inside stayed light and creamy. It reminded me so much of a real acorn I just had to give it a try. Let’s see how it went:


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine:
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
3-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

Beat until smooth and creamy. If you don’t get all the lumps out of the cream cheese now, they won’t beat out later, so be diligent about scraping down the bowl during this first step.

Add:
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

The mix will be quite thick at this point. No worries, that’s normal.

Using  medium speed,  mix in:
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or any extract you choose. Vanilla Butternut would be nice in this shape, don’t you think?)
5 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg is added

At this point the batter will be quite light and fluffy.

Now, look closely and discover the key to this pan. After a couple of shall we say “unsightly” (read ugly) batches of acorns, Susan Reid, Frank and I put our heads together and brainstormed how to get the perfect finish on these little gems.

The key is a combination of cooking spray and flour. The cooking spray coats all the nooks and crannies and the flour adds a thin layer of non-stick protection that results in a smooth as silk finish on the outside of your baked goods.

Yes, I know its the same picture again. Here’s the second key to getting lovely acorns. Once you have spritzed the pan with cooking spray and dusted it with flour, fill the wells just half full with cake batter.

In this case, less is definitely more. Filling the wells too full will result in acorns that puff and flow over the sides of the well. Surprisingly, just 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter is plenty. Our teaspoon scoop proved to be just the right size and made scooping a breeze.

The number of acorns you get will depend on the recipe you use. I ended up with about 36 separate acorns from the pound cake recipe.

The acorn on the left was baked in the sprayed, floured pan while the acorn on the right was baked in a pan with just cooking spray. You can see there is quite a bit of difference in the look, though the flavor is the same on both. Remember, we eat with our eyes first!

Bake the acorns for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the nuts comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for about 2 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

You can serve your acorns singly, or you can sandwich them together with icing or melted chocolate to make little  3-D acorn sandwiches.  Piled high in an earthenware bowl, these nutty little treats were irresistible to our tasters and the bowl was empty in just  minutes.

I wonder how many were hidden away in desk drawers and secreted under napkins for a late afternoon snack? Where is your favorite place to hide away a treat for later?  Don’t tell anyone, but I like to hide mine behind the calculator. Shhhh!

Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Velvet Pound Cake.

Print just the recipe.

Already own the acorn pan? We’d love to hear your review.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. xbaber

    Those are quite cute. I was wondering whether you tried one of the cooking sprays with the flour already in it. If you did, how well did it turn out? I’m pretty lazy about greasing and flouring my cake pans these days. I keep three different cans of cooking spray in my kitchen (original, olive oil and for baking).
    We don’t have the flour spray here, so I haven’t tried it. I think it would work, the principle is the same. I’m pretty lazy about the greasing/flouring myself, but in this case, it really did make a difference in the outcome. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. Deidra

    My cousin has a mini-bundt pan that I’ve used on a few occasions (like tea parties). The cakes always turned out bubbly and greasy looking. Now I know the answer to making them look beautiful and keeping the fine details. Thanks for sharing the tip!
    Glad to help. You’re right that it should work just fine for detailed bundt pans. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. judikins

    I am intrigued by your finding of the use of flour to make the outside of the cake so smooth. I wonder if using a baking spray that already has flour in it would give the same result. Did you try that? Also, it is unusual to add the eggs at the end (after the flour) so I wonder how you think that affected the resulting crumb. I love the science of baking so these questions always come to my mind. Thank you.
    I haven’t tried the flour spray but I think it would work the same way. Adding the eggs at the end does help you get a nice velvety texture on this particular recipe. Plus the amount of butter and eggs together makes for a nice tender crumb. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Strayhand

    Do you think Baker’s Joy (non-stick spray with flour) would work as well as non-stick spray followed by flour?
    I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work in the same way. Hopefully a fellow baker with experience with the flour spray will share their experiences. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. Teresa F.

    Adorable! I’ve a friend who loves acorns. This would be a perfect gift. Thanks for testing the spray only versus spray and flour. Clearly, the latter makes for prettier cakes!
    I bet your friend would go nuts for the pan *groan*. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. Sue

    Hmm it wouldn’t let me sign in the regular way?? Anyway, these are soooo cute! Do you think I could dip the nut end in chocolate to make them look even more realistic?
    Depending on which you prefer, either a couverture or a ganache would work great for these little beauties! Let us know how it goes! ~Jessica

    Reply
  7. debj

    Ok. confession time. I have 2 of these pans, bought several years ago from William Sonoma. (KA just recently started carrying this pan). I just use the ‘ever bake’ spray canola oil, and I’ve never had a problem with sticking at all, and I get the ‘full detail’ when the little muffins turn out. Maybe these pans have a different non-stick coating? I use them to make corn muffin acorns… yummy!

    Reply
  8. gaitedgirl

    I have a similar pan from Williams-Sonoma that I purchased last year and it is one of my FAVORITE pans to use in the fall (it has walnuts, acorns, pumpkins, and pinecone shapes)! I usually make my cornbread in it but now I have a new use for it!! Yay!!! Thank you soooo much MJ!!

    Also, for those of you wondering about the Baking Joy spray from Pillsbury or Baker’s Joy spray – works WONDERS! It’s the only spray I use when I use my pan. I’ve tried using regular cooking spray with it but I have had some difficulty in getting them to look nice (as veiwed from the pics above). I definitely recommend using a spray with flour if you don’t want to deal with spraying and then flouring. So spray away and let everyone oooh and aaah over your adorable little cakes :)
    Thanks so much for telling us about the flour spray. I just ran out of spray at home, so I’ll have to pick some up to try. Thanks again!~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. "Cindy Leigh"

    I just got my catalog today and saw this pan. I immediately thought of a recipe I have for maple cornbread. Glued together with a spread of maple cream cheese in between. Doesn’t that sound good? And served on a plate decorated with some maple leaf cut-out cookies, beautifully iced in fall colors.
    That sounds terrific! I love all kinds of cornbread and the colors would be just perfect. Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. lorrainesfav

    OK…here’s my secret tip. After so many recipes for contests tested in various NordicWare decorative pans…..spray the pan lightly with canola cooking spray. Use a silicone pastry brush to get the spray into all the folds of the pan. Dust lightly with flour and then tap out the excess. Always wait 15 minutes before removing cakes from the pan. Free the cakes by gently shaking the pan back and forth on a surface. Works every time.

    Reply
  11. Milliemouse

    I have a recipe from many years ago when my children were young and I did a lot of baking, I will hunt it down, I know I have it somewhere in my many recipes. Mix the shortening and flour together put it in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator, come baking time, just brush the pan with the mixture and bake. I cut it out of the paper from the Dear Heloise column. If anyone is interested I will find it and post it.

    Reply

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