Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

My mother was a good cook. My grandmother was a good baker. They never mixed up their roles in the kitchen.

"Oh, look! She's made one for each of us."

No, I made one for now and one for the freezer.

My good friend, Barbara, is coming for a visit soon. We have plans for garden and museum visits, crafting (she's the master and I'm her disciple) and spending as little time in the kitchen as possible. Yet, I want to feed her well. With that in mind, I've been menu planning and doing a few things ahead.

I decided to make my grandmother's pound cake and, instead of baking it in one big pan, try it in two 9 inch cake pans. Fingers crossed, I pulled out the recipe for:

Nanny's Buttermilk Pound Cake

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup softened butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs at room temperature
3 cups sifted King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Stir baking soda into 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and set aside.

Cream butter, slowly add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add flour, alternating with the remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk, until all is incorporated.

Stir in the vanilla and almond flavorings.

Stir in the baking soda/buttermilk mixture.

Pour into a well-greased tube pan. (If using the tube pan, make sure it is WELL-GREASED. I've had a little trouble getting it out and am forced to eat what's left in the bottom of the pan.)

Bake for about 1 and 1/4 hours. Test with toothpick. Cool in pan 10 minutes and then until completely cool on wire rack.

This time, I baked the cake in two well-greased 9 inch cake pans for about 45 minutes.

Alas, they came right out giving me to excuse to nosh on pan "stickings".

Just before putting this cake in the oven, nanny would caution us to not slam any doors or jump around in the kitchen. Either one could cause the cake to be "sad". That meant that it would have streaks of denser crumb on the top. My sisters and I loved that denser crumb. As soon as nanny left the kitchen, we would become whirling dervishes to insure that the cake would be as "sad" as possible!!

I've been known to stomp around a bit and let the oven door close with a bang. I'll leave the "whirling dervish" thing completely up to whomever bakes the cake. However, the more you "whirl" the more calories you burn and the more cake you can eat.


  1. Oh my gosh, that's funny! My grandmother would have had a cow if we'd whirled around! She baked every Saturday morning and was great at almost everything. My mom, however, outdid her on lemon meringue, cookies (especially sugar) and red velvet. She combined about 3 different recipes and it was rich, dense, and oh my gosh! good. Since she passed away, we all miss her red velvet...I have a question: does humidity really affect the outcome of a cake? I'm not the baker...

  2. It looks delicious! And I hope you and your friend have a great time together!

  3. Pound cake is always wonderful! I have never tried freezing it. Will be interested in the results.

    Thank you for visiting my blog today! I am glad that you liked the blog! You are right, the gelatin salads aren't seen much in cookbooks anymore.

  4. Great story - and the cake recipe looks great - I'll have to see if I can make a sad cake too.

  5. Oh, yeah, that's what I'm talkin about..

    Come to mama....

  6. Sounds great. I have never been brave enough to bake a pound cake. I am one of those good cooks, but not so good bakers. Carla

  7. What a cute story and wonderful recipe! Thank you for sharing your grandmother's recipe.

  8. I do love a good pound cake, especially during strawberry season. Having an extra cake in the freezer is a great idea because it's then possible to whip up dessert at a moments notice. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Bonnie.

  9. Our Nonna is no longer with us...however...her recipes in a somewhat chicken scratch writing were gratefully left behind. Now, all I need to do is decipher them;o)
    Thank you for your very easy pound cake recipe.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  10. That's so cute! I don't know what I am. People always like my baked goods and want me to open a bakery, but I cook almost every night and am really good at making big hunks of meat (brisket, roasts, etc.) But I think my husband is the better cook--he can create the most delicious things without a recipe!

  11. It looks like you posted this yesterday, and I don't know how I didn't see it until now!! I love the little bird salt & pepper shakers! And the cake looks just lushious! When I was growing up and my mom put a cake in the oven, she said I couldn't jump or slam doors or the cake would "fall", meaning it would sink in the middle. Your comment on my blog just cracked me up. The one about thinking I must have shot the crow. You can be so funny!! Perhaps you can get some pictures of your adventures with your friend. Museums all seem to have different rules about taking pictures, but most don't mind if you don't use flash, and some don't care what you do.

  12. I love the mom and her mom's agreement in the kitchen :)
    a kitchen is an awfully small place for 2 people, much less 2 women :)

  13. My mom was a very talented cook and baker. Her pie crusts were perfection and never ever soggy.

    Have a great week!


  14. I'm trying to picture you whirling in your kitchen :-). The cake sounds lovely and can't help but be well received. Have a great visit with your friend. Blessings...Mary

  15. I have just heard that others are having trouble with blogger and can visit blogs but can't post. Even one friend in Canada! Hers is back up and running now, so they are aware of the problem.

  16. Oh how I love Pound Cake, Bonnie... I think it's my favorite cake EVER---although I have lots of favorite ones... ha

    Hope you enjoy your time with Barbara.

  17. Love your story about whirling and stomping around the kitchen for the saddest possible cake!

    Barbara is in for a real treat; can't wait to see what else you will be preparing.

  18. Oh goodness me. I should know better than to pop over to your blog this late in the evening. You always make me so hungry!

  19. This sounds DELICIOUS! I can't wait to try it! Thank you!

  20. That is a funny story. "Sad" cake is a delicious cake.

  21. I loved this post, and am so glad that you dropped in to Lawn Tea so that I could come find it!!

    Those Grandmothers and Mammaws surely had a way with words---for anything that failed to rise properly, my own Mississippi Mammaw had a saying: "Well, I guess they squatted to rise and baked in the squat."

  22. This is a great cake to have for company - you can do so much with it... even strawberry shortcake ;)


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