Pound cakes are simple goodness

August 22, 2012 

Pound cakes have never lost their appeal even though they have been made for centuries.

Check out any potluck dinner, church dinner or family reunion, and a pound cake or two will be there. When great-grandmother or grandmother made the cakes, she used a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs and a pound of flour.

According to "The Joy of Baking," baking powder, salt or baking soda were not used until the 20th century. The first pound cakes were more like bread.

A pound cake recipe in the "Fannie Farmer 1896 Cookbook" called for a pound of sugar, butter and flour, and 10 eggs, separated.

One reader's grandmother knew her pound cakes and shared her knowledge with him.

"I remember, as a small child, 60-plus years ago, hearing my grandmother, who was a marvelous country cook, talking about a 'pound' cake," Jack Bethea said. "I don't believe she used a cookbook. She said it got its name from the original handed-down recipe, which used a pound of the main ingredients: sugar, sifted flour, lard, beaten eggs, buttermilk. I'm not sure, but this probably included small amounts of vanilla, lemon, baking powder and/or soda and home-churned butter. (At any rate, I usually had to do the churning.)

"Her cakes were firm and moist, yellow with a golden brown crust. Some were loaf style, and some were circular with a hole in the middle," Bethea said.

Today's cooks have added different flavorings,

but the basics are still the same: butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Like Bethea's grandmother's cake, they still are made in Bundt or tube pans or loaf pans, depending on the desired size of cake.

Four readers share their favorite pound cakes for the reader who requested "a good pound cake recipe." All, except one, use the basic ingredients. Dee Turner of Lucedale shares an easier version that uses a cake mix.

"I've tried many pound cakes through the years, but always go back to this recipe as it is delicious and very easy," said Toni Betyn of Palmetto. "Hope your readers enjoy it, too."

BUTTER POUND CAKE

2 cups butter, softened

1 pound package powdered sugar

6 eggs

3 cups cake flour

Beat butter and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour and mix until smooth. Spoon into greased 10-inch tube pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

-- Submitted by Toni Betyn

"Now I have an 'oldie but goodie' pound cake recipe that my mother made in the 1940s," Marilyn Staudaher said.

POUND CAKE RECIPE

1 pound margarine or butter (or use half of each)

1 pound package powdered sugar

7 eggs

3 cups cake flour

Cream margarine and add sugar gradually. Add eggs and flour alternately, ending with an egg. Grease and flour a tube pan, add batter and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. It may take less time, depending upon one's oven. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to cake rack to cool. May be iced if desired.

-- Submitted by Marilyn Staudaher

"My mother's specialty was baking wonderful pound cakes. Her last gift to us was a pound cake intended to be taken to New Prospect Camp Meeting. She died suddenly of a brain aneurysm the next day," Nancy Holderer of Gulfport, Miss., said. "This sour cream cake recipe came to my aunt while she was working the polls in Hattiesburg in 1972. One of the voters brought it to share with the poll workers."

SOUR CREAM CAKE

1 stick margarine, softened

1 stick butter, softened

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

3 cups less 2 tablespoons sugar

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

5 eggs

2 teaspoons coconut extract or 1 teaspoon each lemon and coconut

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

Cream margarine and butter with sugar. Add sifted flour, soda and salt and mix to a consistency of corn meal. Mix in sour cream until creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating 1 minute after each. Stir in extract. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan and bake at 325 degrees for l hour and 15 minutes or until done.

-- Submitted by Nancy Holderer

"Etta Bradford of Inverness was a wonderful cook and hostess. Taking me under her wing as a beginning cook, she shared several recipes that remain family favorites," Holderer said. "This one, written in her handwriting, got very wet in Katrina but was saved."

GEORGIA POUND CAKE

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring

3 cups sugar

1 cup cocoa

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter, softened

1- 1/2 cups sweet milk

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

1/4 cup light cream

Sift together the sifted flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the softened butter, milk and vanilla. Beat mixture for 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and light cream, beating thoroughly after each addition.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1- 1/2 hours or until cakes tests done. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan.

-- Submitted by Nancy Holderer

"The following is a pound cake recipe that a friend of mine gave me and is very good," Dee Turner said. "Generally, I am not a big fan of pound cakes, but this one is exceptional. You might want to give it a try."

GERMAN CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE

1 box German chocolate cake mix

1 can coconut pecan frosting

1 cup vegetable oil

5 eggs

1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together 2 minutes at medium speed. Bake in greased and floured Bundt pan at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour. Test with toothpick. Let cool 30 minutes. Then flip out of pan.

-- Submitted by Dee Turner

City chicken creation

"I have been reading with interest the city chicken recipes you have been getting and decided I had to put my two cents' worth in," Coastian Peggy Ryland said. "As a child in the '40s in Louisville Ky., we would go to the Kroger grocery store and buy city chicken legs. They were already prepared and rolled in crushed corn flakes, and all you had to do was cook them.

"A few years ago I remembered eating them as a child and asked a butcher at a local grocery store if he could make me some city chicken," Ryland said. "He had no idea what I was talking about, so I decided to make up my own recipe as I remembered them. This recipe is not in the Log House/Friendship House cookbook ('From Our House To Your House') that we published.

And here it is:

PEGGY RYLAND'S CITY CHICKEN

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground veal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup flour (you can add a little more if needed)

2 beaten eggs

Wooden skewers about 6- to 8-inches long (can use chop sticks broken to size)

Corn flakes, crushed

Mix ingredients, except corn flakes, together and shape into chicken legs around the skewer. (They look somewhat like fat corn dogs.) Roll in crushed corn flakes and cook in skillet in vegetable oil with a tablespoon or so of bacon drippings for added flavor.

-- Submitted by Peggy Ryland

Salsa recipes, please

Do you have any good salsa recipes? Carol Brody asked.

Readers, send me your favorite salsa recipes for Brody. These can be tomato salsas, fruit salsas or any way that you make salsa.

Andrea Yeager, a freelance writer, can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net. Send contributions or requests to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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