There are traditions that create fond memories. For my mother-in-law (aka Grammy), a good pound cake can transport her to weekends in the kitchen with her mother baking. Or, it can recapture the love of her beloved Neal, with whom she lost nearly 23 years ago.
It appears that there is a beautiful principal to baking that I previously never considered. In the past, I thought baking was simply the science of precisely measuring and never over-baking. But, after spending an hour in the kitchen with Grammy, I realized that baking can teach you more about the person than the protocol of the recipe.
I always knew my husband’s mom to be an extremely caring and devoted person; she humbly serves the Lord as much as she does her neighbors. This is not a discovery; this is just Grammy. But, it appears Grammy has a very sentimental side too.
As she dictated her recipe for Sour Cream Pound Cake, she began technically by only discussing the finer points of baking. The importance of room temperature eggs, as well as how critical over-mixing can be to the texture of the cake. Then, as time passed, she became very nostalgic and described how this recipe was the one that she began using right after she wed Neal.
For nearly 50 years, she made this pound cake for his birthday, their anniversary and no doubt for every family trip to the beaches of North Carolina. It became a tradition to have this particular dessert at family gatherings and has been shared with friends and loved ones for years. Now, this unbelievable recipe is yours to enjoy as well. Just be sure to save some for breakfast as she insists there is no better way to eat it than with a dab of butter, toasted under the broiler!
Enjoy with love and memories! Xoxo, E.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (*preferrably the White Lily brand)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Prepare a large tube pan by first greasing the pan with 2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco) or unsalted butter, and then dusting it with ¼ cup of flour. Shake any excess flour from the pan by gently tapping it over the kitchen sink.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside dry ingredients.
- Using an electric mixer, whip the butter on high speed until spreadable (approximately 1 minute).
- Continue by creaming the butter with the sugar at high speed by adding the sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time, for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, or until very light and fluffy.
- Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating just until no yellow is visible after each addition.
- Reduce the speed to low and stir in the sour cream. Then, add the dry ingredients ½ cup at a time until just incorporated, or until flour is no longer visible. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts and resist the temptation to over-mix, as it will result in a disappointing texture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tube pan and bake at 325⁰ for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick stuck into the cake is clean when removed.
- Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, remove the pan by turning it onto
- Remove the cake from the pan by turning it onto a wire rack, and let the cake continue to cool for 30 minutes. Enjoy it warm with fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar if you wish.
This cake also freezes beautifully, up to 3 months.