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Pound cake: Plain and fancy

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I saw a photograph of a pound cake last week and immediately started craving a slice.

I love a good, dense and buttery pound cake. Mama never made pound cake a lot, and I don’t have a go-to recipe, so I had to hunt around.

I decided on a sour cream pound cake.

While searching my cookbooks and a number of websites, I discovered that many, many people use the same basic recipe: 2 sticks of butter, 3 cups of sugar, 6 eggs, a cup of sour cream, 3 cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and salt and varying amounts and varieties of flavorings, including vanilla, almond and lemon.

It seemed to make sense to follow the crowd and use the popular recipe. But I did make a few changes. I used only 2 1/2 cups of sugar and chose cake flour over basic all-purpose flour. I also used vanilla extract.

Pound cake is not hard to make. I measured everything and broke the eggs before I got started, which made it easier to assemble. (I don’t always do this.) I used my stand mixer and had the cake batter made in only a few minutes.

The cake was cooled and ready to eat by the time my granddaughter and I got home from school Friday afternoon. The house smelled so good when we walked in, and we both made a beeline to the dining room table where the cake had been cooling.

Although the cake was delicious without any toppings, what I was waiting for was a dressed-up, decked-out slice of cake on Saturday.

I love pound cake several ways. It’s good plain, of course, but it takes on another layer when you top it with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce.

Skip the ice cream and top the cake with a drizzle (or two) of hot fudge sauce and a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry. And, if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy fresh strawberries, blueberries or peaches piled on top with a little whipped cream. Hungry yet?


• On Friday morning, I took two sticks of butter out of the freezer and put them on the counter to thaw and warm to room temperature. I thought the butter was at room temperature five hours or so later when I started making the pound cake, but apparently it wasn’t, and I had trouble making the batter smooth. The cake was still delicious, but next time I will try to take the butter out of the freezer and into the refrigerator the day before and put it on the counter to warm up after it has thawed.

• I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla in my cake. I considered adding lemon zest in the batter but resisted.

• Before pouring the batter into my Bundt pan, I gave it a generous spray of Baker’s Joy. It came out with no problem.

Lisa Boykin Batts has been writing a weekly food column since 2001. Her column includes recipes she and her family enjoy.