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Bless Your Spoon: Pound cake recipes date back to 1700s

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Bless Your Spoon

This week and next, we’ll be reading some of the oldest and most popular recipes for cake – the southern pound cakes. A true pound cake recipe is one that dates back to the 1700s.

Consider that here in the South, this cake is part of our food heritage – that alone makes me love it. Originally, the cake earned the name because of how it’s made – originally with a pound of each – butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. When I imagine an ancestral great-grandparent baking that Southern Butter Pound recipe, the image warms my heart.

As far as the best old-fashioned cakes, the pound would certainly be right up there on top of the list. This popular cake is delicious any way you serve it – plain, glazed, or frosted. And whether sliced, cubed or crumbled, the cake makes a delicious base for many additional desserts – think layered in trifles, fruit topped, and toasted and topped with ice cream. You’re only limited by your imagination.

I’ve included a few of my favorite plain pound cakes and some with flavorings. Next week, I’ll share additional recipes that include added ingredients to flavor. Just know that you can always use any of today’s basic recipes and add a few of your own favorite ingredients.

Begin with plain pound cake and combine a few flavors or ingredients that you enjoy. The secret key is in the thorough mixing – enough but not too much.

If there’s one scratch dessert you bake well – perfect the pound.

SOUTHERN BUTTER POUND CAKE

4 sticks salted butter (1 lb.)

6 egg yolks

1 pound sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pound all-purpose flour

1 heaping tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 beaten egg whites

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and egg yolks until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, and mix well. Add flour and baking powder. Mix well. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold stiff egg whites into batter until thoroughly combined. Fold in vanilla. Bake in well-greased and floured 10-inch tube pan in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour.

COLD OVEN POUND CAKE

2 sticks salted butter

½  cup Crisco shortening

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups sifted, all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

1 pinch salt

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond or lemon extract

Cream butter and Crisco. Add sugar and cream well until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until well incorporated. Add flour, baking powder, and salt while alternating with milk. Mix well. Fold in flavorings.  Mix well.  Bake in a well-greased and floured tube pan in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, starting with a cold oven. When done, let stand for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

WHIPPING CREAM POUND CAKE

2 sticks softened butter

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups cake flour

½ pint regular whipping cream

2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add cake flour while alternating with whipping cream. Fold in extract. Mix well. Bake in a greased and floured tube pan. Starting with a cold oven, place cake in oven, and set temperature at 350-degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When done, let stand for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE

3 sticks salted butter

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups sifted cake flour

Pinch of salt

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time beating thoroughly with each addition. Add half of flour with salt with half of cream cheese. Mix well. Add remaining flour and remaining cream cheese, and vanilla. Mix well. Bake in a greased and floured 10-inch pan in a 300-degree oven for 1 ½ hour.

MAHOGANY POUND CAKE

1 cup softened butter

2 cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar

6 egg yolks

1 cup sour cream

½ tsp. soda

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cocoa

6 stiffly beaten egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Confectioners sugar

In a mixer cream butter and sugars. Beat until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition. Add soda to sour cream. Add to butter mixture. Mix well. Add flour and cocoa. Mix well. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into cake batter. Fold in vanilla. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured tube pan and bake in a 325-degree oven for 1 ½ hours. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. When cool, dust with confectioner’s sugar.

SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE

2 sticks softened, salted butter

3 cups sugar

6 egg yolks

½ pint sour cream

1/4 tsp. soda

3 cups flour

6 beaten egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add yolks one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mix sour cream and soda together. Add flour while alternating with sour cream. Mix well. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Fold in vanilla. Mix well. Bake in a greased and floured tube pan in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

CRUSTY POUND CAKE

1 cup Crisco shortening

2 cups sugar

6 eggs

2 cups flour

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. lemon extract

In a mixer bowl, cream Crisco shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time while alternating with flour and salt, thoroughly mixing after each egg. Fold in flavorings. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured tube pan. Preheat oven to 200-degrees. Increase temperature to 250-degrees when you place cake in oven and bake for 1 hour. Use only the brand Crisco for shortening.

VANILLA WAFER POUND CAKE

1 cup softened salted butter

2 cups sugar

6 eggs

12 oz. crushed vanilla wafers

½ cup whole milk

1 ½  cups chopped pecans

7 oz. flaked coconut

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add crushed wafers while alternating with milk. Mix well. Fold in pecans and coconut. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured tube pan in a 300-degree oven for 1 hour and 15-30  minutes. Cake improves each day.

BROWN SUGAR MAPLE POUND CAKE

¾ lb. softened, salted butter

1 lb. light brown sugar

5 eggs

3 cups cake flour

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. maple flavoring

1 cup whole milk

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, baking powder, and salt while alternating with milk and flavorings. Beat thoroughly to mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured large tube pan in a 325-degree oven for 1 ½ hours.

CINNAMON POUND CAKE

1 cup softened salted butter

1 2/3 cup sugar

4 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp vanilla

¼  cup sugar

1/8 cup cinnamon

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs on at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition. Add flour, baking powder, and salt while alternating with milk and vanilla. Pour half the batter into a well-greased and floured tube pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle half the mixture over the batter. Cover with remaining cake batter and sprinkle top with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Cool before cutting.

BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE

1 cup softened, salted butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups cake flour

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, baking soda, and salt while alternating with buttermilk and extracts. Bake in a well-greased and floured 10-inch tube pan in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from pan.