One of the things I vividly remember about my grandmother was her comfort in any kitchen. Didn't matter who's...she was always able to make some of the most delicious food. While she would allow the family to "help", she pretty well did ALL the cooking on holidays, creating feasts fit for kings!! I'm nowhere close to her abilities, and may never reach them. Oh, I try...ALOT...but I will probably ALWAYS compare what I do to what I remember her accomplishing.
Take Thanksgiving, for example; our typical holiday meal (for 6 people) consisted of turkey or ham (sometimes both), dressing, giblet gravy, mac & cheese, a pot of slow-cooked green beans or turnip roots, homemade bread, asparagus cassarole, sweet potato cassarole, and desserts...apple pie, pumpkin pie, and always, ALWAYS...her sour cream pound cake. With the exception of the desserts, she would make all those in ONE DAY (as mentioned, I take almost a week). The desserts she made the day before ONLY due to lack of space in the oven.
Yes folks...she'd get up around 5am on Thanksgiving, and by 2pm, we'd eat. It's a feat not many can muster. Heck, it makes me exhausted just thinking about it!! She truely WAS gifted!!
With all that food, it was always the sour cream pound cake that I looked forward to. She never had to read a recipe for it...this was the cake her mother, grandmother, and on back, had always made for special occasions, and it was as ingrained to her as breathing. Well, today...I'm going to share it with you. Make it once, and enter MY world...you'll NEVER want a store bought pound cake again.
For this cake, you will need one specialized piece of equipment...a 10" tube pan. They carry them at WalMart...cost is $12-14. I own 3 of them...when I make my pound cakes, I usually make 2-3 and freeze the rest for future munching, or give them as gifts. The recipe will make 1, though, so you'll need at least 1.
I'm also going to give you the chocolate variation, in case you want to try it...it's just as yummy as the original!!
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temp (2 sticks)
3 cups sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10" tube pan thoroughly (use Baker's Secret spray, it's a snap). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking soda, and mix with a fork. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until it takes on a fluffy texture (about 5 minutes). If you are making this in a stand mixer, make sure to scrape down the sides so that it's all incorporated. Add vanilla, then the egg yolks 1-2 at a time until blended. Add sour cream, stir til blended in. Add the flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time, until completely blended in.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form (it helps to chill the bowl and beaters completely...makes them whip faster). Using a spatula, GENTLY fold the egg whites into the batter until blended...DO NOT STIR FAST, or you will lose the "lift" the egg whites will give. Pour prepared batter into the tube pan, distributing evenly around the center tube. Now for the fun...lift the entire pan, and drop it onto the counter, 3 times, to settle the batter into the pan, and force any air bubbles out.
Bake for 1 hour, then cover with foil, and bake another 30 minutes. The foil will prevent it from getting too browned, and the steam will help create the "crust"...a slightly gooey layer of crunchy goodness on the very top. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes, then using the center tube, remove the bottom of the pan, lifting the entire cake out. Let cool completely.
For a chocolate craving, exchange 1/4 cup of the flour for 1/4 cup of Hershey baking cocoa. Prepare as directed. If you want to have REAL fun save about 1/2 cup batter out from when you put it in the pan, then stir 2-3 tablespoons of the cocoa into the saved portion. Drop by spoonfuls on top of the batter, then use a knife to swirl it in. Makes for a gorgeous (and TASTY) marbled cake!!
Folks, I hope this recipe brings you as much pleasure as it does me. This is a STAPLE at our house...not just for holidays, but anytime we want something sweet. Until next time...ENJOY!!!