Monday, May 12, 2014

Love and Pound Cake

A little while back, my father gave me an old set of pyrex mixing bowls that belonged to my mother. Sturdy, serviceable bowls that I saw millions of times throughout my childhood.  

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I missed my mom terribly. As I was fixing dinner last night, I thought about how many meals took shape in those bowls.   Biscuits on Saturday mornings.  Cornbread for weeknight suppers. The dressing every Thanksgiving.  Birthday cakes, cookies, brownies for treats. I close my eyes and I see Mom standing at the kitchen counter, with me watching.  Learning.

I learned to cook from watching my mother. What I didn’t realize – and she probably didn’t either – is that she was also teaching me about love. So often, we express our love in what we do for others. When I cook for family and friends, it’s a big, messy, delicious “I love you” to the people in my life. And I think my mom would like that.

And I think that’s a good way to start sharing some of my favorite recipes here… so first up is my current favorite variation on the first thing I cooked for myself – a pound cake. I made my first pound cake when I was 16 from the Southern Living Cookbook, which is still my go-to bible for southern cooking. When I moved out on my own, I unashamedly stole that cookbook from Mom’s shelf – how else was I going to survive on my own? To my credit, I gave her a new copy for the next Mother’s Day.

Since then I’ve probably made hundreds of pound cakes. They remain one of my favorite things to cook.  This particular version came in a later copy of Southern Living. I love the tart freshness of the lime, and I think it’s an ideal cake to enjoy on the patio with friends and family as the weather gets warmer.

Key Lime Pound Cake

What You Need:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs $
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk $
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice

For the Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to Make It:

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan.

3. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.

4. Whisk glaze ingredients in a small bowl and immediately brush over top and sides of cake. Cool completely (about 1 hour).


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