JAPAN - (THE JAPAN NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) Recently, packages of butter have been disappearing from supermarket shelves. Whenever fresh supplies appear, there is usually a sign saying, "Limit one package per person."
Although there must be a reason for this shortage, having no butter in the refrigerator makes me feel rather uneasy, and every time I go grocery shopping, I always check the dairy aisle.
Whenever I'm lucky enough to find some, I buy it without hesitation. This could very well be the reason for the butter shortage. Once something becomes a rare commodity, everybody wants it.
A few weeks ago, I had used up all the butter in the refrigerator. Later on, when I thought of baking a pound cake for a gathering, I realised that I had no butter left. I was crestfallen at first, as I didn't know what to do without it. Then a recipe came to me.
One afternoon, back when my 18-year-old daughter was only 1 year old, I thought of baking a pound cake. I thought all the ingredients were at hand. However, as soon as I started, I realised that I had no butter.
CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE WITH SOUR CHERRIES
200g cream cheese
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon juice
50g sour cherries
Butter or vegetable oil to grease the pan
1. Preheat the oven to 170 C. Lightly grease the pan with butter or vegetable oil. Sift cake flour with baking powder. Microwave cream cheese in a heat-resistant container with plastic wrap cover for 60-80 seconds or until it becomes soft.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar, and mix well with a spatula.
3. Add eggs one by one, mixing them well. Add lemon juice. Add sifted flour and blend thoroughly. Add drained sour cherries and gently fold. Pour the batter into the pound cake pan.
4. After baking 10 minutes in the oven, use a knife to make a shallow, straight slit in the centre of the batter to create a nice-looking split on top. Bake 30-35 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack.
Without it, I would never be able to bake a pound cake - or so I thought. I was really in the mood to bake but nearly gave up on the idea since going shopping just for a package of butter with small children in tow seemed like too much trouble.
While scouring the refrigerator over and over again, I found a pack of cream cheese. Then it hit me: I could bake a cake substituting cream cheese for the butter.
I also found a tin of sour cherries, which seemed like a good combination. Though I wasn't sure how it would turn out, I tried baking a cake with them.
The cake turned out very well. After cooling it, I wrapped it, placed it on the kitchen counter and left the room. After a while, when I came back, I found pieces of aluminium foil scattered everywhere and my daughter sitting in her baby chair at the dining table. She was happily devouring the whole pound cake and her face was nearly sunk in it. Although the cake was totally ruined, all I could do was laugh because my 1-year-old baby looked so happy and was trying to look well behaved in her own chair with a fork in her hand.
Whenever you run low on butter, please try this special recipe. Walnuts, raisins or other dried fruits can be added in place of sour cherries.