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Andrea Yeager: Pound cakes are reliable crowd-pleasers

By Andrea Yeager

When in doubt what cake to make, bake a pound cake.

The ingredients are simple, and the cake rarely flops. How can it? There is no leavening in most pound cakes, just flour, sugar, butter or shortening, extract, eggs and sometimes a few extra ingredients like lemon, cocoa, sour cream or cream cheese.

If the recipe is followed correctly, a pound cake is one of the easiest cakes to make. Pound cakes are mixed with a mixer, poured into a greased and floured Bundt or tube pan, baked for a little over an hour and cooled on a rack for about 10 minutes. The only tricky part is to make sure the pan is greased well.

A well-greased pan is a must for the cake to release easily. Some cooks use a tube pan; I prefer the Bundt pan.

In the last week, I have made two pound cakes, a cream cheese one for a church dinner and a sour cream one for my father-in-law's 90th birthday. The cream cheese one is my favorite because the top gets crunchy and is great topped with the fresh strawberries that are coming into season. Hubert Yeager likes a softer cake, so likes the sour cream one and likes it topped with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.

A Kiln reader asked for good pound cake recipes, and readers have obliged with some that are well-worth trying.

"Faye's lemon sour cream pound cake is about the best one I've ever tasted," Donna Johnston of

Long Beach said. "And, oh so easy to make.

"The longer the cake sits the better it tastes," Johnston said. "I usually make it the day before I cut it."

FAYE'S LEMON SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE

1 yellow butter cake mix

1/2 cup sugar

4 eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

Mix all together. Pour batter into a Bundt or angel food pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Turn out cake. While it is still warm, mix together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and the juice of 2- 1/2 lemons. Pour glaze over warm cake.

-- Submitted by Donna Johnston

Jackie Crawford of Pass Christian shares three pound cakes that she says are good.

"All of these are really good, and (I) have made them many times," Crawford says. "The whipped cream pound cake seems to be a favorite of everyone. The pound cake that calls for folding in the egg whites makes a wonderful crust on top, but all are good."

The third pound cake is called a five-flavor pound cake and is taken from "Great Flavors of Mississippi." She also sent a cake recipe that is made with a German chocolate cake mix that she likes, too. These recipes, two of which are her late mother's, Jonnie Massey, are published in "Feeding the Faithful: Cursillo Movement of South Mississippi."

I will share the German chocolate cake recipe in next week's column.

WHIPPED CREAM POUND CAKE

1/2 pound butter

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 pint whipping cream (not whipped)

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla; add flour and whipping cream alternately. Bake in a greased tube pan for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

-- From the late Jonnie Massey and submitted by daughter Jackie Crawford

POUND CAKE

1 cup real butter

3 cups sugar

3 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon

Pinch of salt

5 egg yolks

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon baking soda in 1 tablespoon of hot water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon juice ( 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract and 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon juice)

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

5 egg whites, beaten stiff

Cream butter and sugar well -- about 10 minutes or more. Add egg yolks one at a time, stirring after each addition. Sift flour with salt and add to sugar mixture, alternately with milk. Add soda in hot water and mix well into batter. Add vanilla, lemon and almond flavorings.

Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 340-350 degrees for 1 hour or until done, in large greased tube pan. (I put brown paper on bottom of pan and then grease paper and sprinkle flour on this and shake out, to keep from sticking.

-- From the late Jonnie Massey and submitted by daughter Jackie Crawford

FIVE-FLAVOR POUND CAKE

2 sticks margarine

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

1 cup milk

5 large eggs, well-beaten

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter flavoring

1 tablespoon coconut extract

1 tablespoon lemon flavoring

1 tablespoon rum flavoring

Have all ingredients at room temperature, and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream margarine, shortening and sugar; add eggs. Sift flour and baking powder. Alternately, add flour mixture and milk to creamed mixture, ending with dry ingredients. Blend in extracts and flavorings. Grease a tube pan well with solid shortening and flour; line bottom of pan with brown paper. Bake for 1- 1/2 hours. Cool for an hour. Punch holes in top for icing.

FIVE FLAVOR ICING

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon flavoring

1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring

Combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes (be sure to time), stirring constantly. Drizzle over top and sides of cake.

-- Submitted by Jackie Crawford from "Great Flavors of Mississippi"

Betty Hill of Wiggins sent two recipes that she uses often. One is a buttermilk pound cake to which she often adds chopped 1- 1/2 cups pecans for a nut cake. Her daughter adds bananas to the buttermilk pound cake, but Hill doesn't know how many bananas. The second cake is a German chocolate pound cake.

BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE

2 sticks oleo

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2- 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Dash salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract or both

Cream oleo, sugar and oil. Sift dry ingredients together. Add eggs to creamed mixture, one at a time. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Add flavoring or flavorings.

Bake in greased and floured 12-inch tube pan at 300 degrees for 1- 1/2 hours or until tested done. I bake mine 1 hour and 25 minutes. Can add 1 to 1- 1/2 cups chopped pecans before baking.

-- Submitted by Betty Hill

GERMAN CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE

1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

4 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons butter flavoring

1 bar German chocolate

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Melt chocolate over boiling water.

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Sift dry ingredients together. Add melted chocolate to creamed mixture. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk, starting and ending with flour mixture. Add flavorings.

Bake in greased and floured 10-inch tube pan at 350 degrees until tests done, about 45 minutes.

-- Submitted by Betty Hill

One-pot spaghetti

"I have a one-pot spaghetti recipe for Susan Oustalet," Cherry Hall said. "It's not from the old Shrimp Boat restaurant, but perhaps she can modify it to her tastes. It's from 'Martha Stewart's Cooking School.' I've prepared it a few times; it is very good, easy and fast!"

Oustalet asked for a pasta sauce in which the spaghetti was cooked in the sauce similar to the one served at the old Shrimp Boat restaurant.

ONE-PAN TOMATO PASTA

12 ounces linguine

12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 sprigs basil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4- 1/2 cups water

For serving: additional basil, olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large, straight-sided skillet combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, red-pepper flakes, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper and water.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.

To serve, check for seasoning, and garnish with the additional basil, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

-- Submitted by Cherry Hall from "Martha Stewart's Cooking School"

Coming next week

Readers share their best sweet potato pie recipes for Melba DeLorey of Pascagoula. Also, we have a few more pound cake recipes, plus that German chocolate cake from Jackie Crawford. Yes, it seems we are in dessert mode, but that's what readers are asking for right now.

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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