One of my favorite things to do when I go home is to page through Mom’s old, decrepit recipe box. I don’t do it more than maybe once a year, but sometime I’ll go home and she’ll need something from it and I’ll find myself looking and old favorites, written hastily on any scratch paper that happened to be around at the time; receipts, slips of paper, and a few on proper recipe cards.
While thumbing through the archives this weekend, I happened upon our family recipe for brown sugar pound cake, written in my dad’s meticulous handwriting. Despite being delicious, neither Mom nor I ever make it, but we both knew right then that I’d be our contribution to Monday night’s barbecue.
Baba had such exact and, in my opinion, beautiful penmanship, a quality that men can rarely boast. It was also so distinctive, and I admit that I have a few random cards and papers tucked away just so that I still get to see it every once in a while. Mom said that he wrote down this particular recipe because it was one of his favorites, and he actually asked my grandmother for the recipe, which makes me sort of smile because I can’t even imagine him doing that. But, there it was, in his hand, and now on our table.
Remember that this is POUND cake, and it lives up to its name. With loads of butter and sugar, this one is the dieter’s reward. The brown sugar makes it distinct from others that you may have had, adding not only more richness to an already rich cake, but also a beautiful brown color.
Perfect for any doily-ed or paper napkin occasion. That is to say, any occasion.
You really do need to beat the butter, sugar and eggs this long. Really. The goal is to try and lighten this cake up as much as we can, so we need to give it some air. Also, strangely, this cake has a tendency to separate if you don’t beat it enough, so there’s that. But, remember, as with any cake, once you add the flour, only a few more beats to combine. No one wants a tough, overly glutinous cake!
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3 cups light brown sugar
- 5 jumbo eggs
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- Berries and whipped cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Butter and sugar a tube pan, preferably one with a removable bottom.
- In a stand mixer, add the butter and the sugar. Beat on high speed for 7 minutes, stopping every now and again to scrape down the sides until the mixture is light colored and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Once all the eggs have been added, beat an additional 4-5 minutes until all is well incorporated. Add the vanilla, salt and baking powder. Mix well.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour and milk, alternating, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
- Spread the batter evenly around the tube pan. Bake 1:15-1:30, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan about 30 minutes and then, if your pan allows, gently remove the sides of the pan and let cool completely.
- Serve with berries and whipped cream, along side a cup of tea.
Written after finishing a book and cleaning the kitchen.