Santa Barbara
60° F
Clear
Clear
Santa Maria
48° F
Clear
Clear
San Luis Obispo
55° F
Clear
Clear
Ventura
54° F
Clear
Clear

The ultimate pound cake recipe

By J. Scott Wilson, Food columnist, food@ibsys.com
Published On: Dec 05 2012 01:01:11 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 11 2013 05:07:14 AM CST

We all have family recipes that have been lost in the mists of time. Every time a grandparent, aunt or uncle dies, it seems a few more bits of family culinary wisdom slip away. Such, or so I thought, was the case with the famous Wilson family pound cake recipe, which was made for decades by my Great Aunt Fleta and mailed out to family far and wide.

You could always tell what your familial status was by how much of a cake you received. For a single person, half a cake meant you were in good stead. A quarter cake meant you hadn't made the trip to Kountze, Texas, to visit quite often enough. No cake at all meant you had some serious work to do.

I'll never forget that cake. It was nothing "fancy," no raspberry swirls or lemon glazes ... it was just golden yellow, with a light brown crust, and when lightly heated and topped with butter and perhaps a dollop of fruit preserves it was heaven on a plate.

I've looked for years for a recipe that could produce that cake, but apparently there's just something about a cake that starts with a pound of butter and a pound of sugar that frightens cookbook writers. I just couldn't get the results I was seeking.

Then, while researching recipes for the Thanksgiving season, I came across Chitterlings.com and the soul food recipes of Willie Crawford. One of his featured recipes is for pound cake, and it gave me the inspiration to play around a bit and, lo and behold, I reverse engineered Aunt Fleta's wondrous creation.

The absolute key to this cake is creaming the butter and sugar. I got my big Kitchen-Aid stand mixer out and gave the motor a real workout. Using the paddle, I mixed the butter and sugar together on speed 6 for five minutes, then gave them a couple of one-minute turns at speed 9, scraping the bowl in between, before finishing with 30 seconds on top speed.

If you prefer the old-fashioned wooden spoon method, settle in for a good, long session of stirring. The end product should be very smooth, without much in the way of grainy texture from the sugar.

Ingredients


1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 c. cake flour, sifted
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. eggnog (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit.

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. While the mixer is running, grease (pure vegetable shortening is best) and flour a Bundt cake pan. Use all-purpose flour for best results.

Once creaming is done, add eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, salt and eggnog (if desired). Mix thoroughly.

Add flour, ½ c. at a time, allowing each addition to mix in thoroughly. After all flour is in, mix batter 3 minutes at med-low speed, or at least 100 strokes by hand.

Spoon batter into cake pan, making sure to level off well.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted in the deepest part of the cake comes out clean. The first time you make the cake in your oven, check after 1 hour and at 10-minute intervals afterward to be safe.

Invert pan on cooling rack and carefully lift pan off cake. It is imperative that the cake not be allowed to cool in the pan, as that will ruin the crust.

Slice and enjoy! It will keep up to a week in an airtight container.

For a special treat, warm a slice of cake and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Dust with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • Witnesses to Fatal Crash

    Eyewitnesses See Triple Fatal Crash from Roadside Camp

    A homeless couple watching the freeway from their campsite in Santa Barbara this morning, witnessed the triple fatal accident that took the lives of two teens and a young man.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    DUI Driver in Fatal Early Morning Accident Ordered to Detox Program in 1995

    The Santa Barbara woman arrested for DUI in the early morning accident that left three people dead early Monday morning has a lengthy court record out of Ventura County. Kimberly Kreis, 52, was ordered to serve 30 days in a detox program as far back as 1995.

    The car that Kreis was driving crashed into a disabled Mazda near the Castillo off-ramp of the southbound 101 freeway in Santa Barbara. Two 17 year old North Torrance High School students were killed in the accident- Jessica Leffew and Danielle Murillo. 20 year old Brian Lopez also died in the wreck. The driver of the Mazda, Eric August, is hospitalized in critical condition.

    A NewsChannel 3 investigation found records out of Ventrua County that appear to show that Greis has at least one prior conviction involving drugs and or alcohol, and in 1995 she was ordered to serve 30 days in a Cottage Hospital detox program.

    CHP investigators are still trying to piece together why the Mazda veered right into a guardrail, causing it to flip onto it's roof before coming to rest in the middle of the southbound freeway, which set into motion the deadly accident.

    CHP Officer Jonathan Guiterrez, said "A lot of things could have happened, He could have fallen asleep. We just don't know at this point."

  • Santa Barbara Fatal Accident Folo

    Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.

  • Parents of Mallory Dies Sue Congresswoman, Her Former Aide, and U.S. Government

    The parents of a young Santa Barbara woman killed in a high profile, DUI case are suing Congresswoman Lois Capps, her former aide Raymond Morua, and the U-S government in federal court.

  • Larry Lee Cal Poly Coach

    Cal Poly Baseball Earns No. 1 National Ranking

    The Mustangs achieved the school's second No. 1 national ranking in Division I as Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has placed Cal Poly atop its Top 30.

  • fuzion_store_business_santa_barbara

    UCSB Group Boycotts Business For Promoting Deltopia

    A UCSB student group is boycotting a local business for creating the Deltopia Facebook page, which they said brought in thousands of outsiders to the small college town.

  • girl_child_coughing_sick_whooping_cough

    Contagious Diseases Making a Comeback in California

    Deadly diseases that were a thing of the past are making a comeback in California.

  • Slideshow: 3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • Netflix file

    Brian Snyder/Reuters

    14 alternatives to Netflix

    Out of love with Netflix? Check out these alternatives to the company's instant streaming and DVD-by-mail services.