I made a rule (because I love rules) that I can only bake this cake if we’re going to a family dinner, or friends are coming over, or I devise some other stratagem to give at least three-fourths of it away.
Because le bf and I have the same favorite childhood memory of Sara Lee poundcake from the supermarket. And this is just like what mom used to defrost.
Okay, maybe this poundcake is better. The ingredients are much, much better. It tastes like ice cream, and melts in your mouth like ice cream, too. Both our moms loved it.
It is, however, missing that weirdly wonderful brown layer on top. If you also grew up with the Sara Lee version, you know how important that was.
Still, the recipe is easy, and the cake that comes out of the oven is way fancier than the ingredients that go into the mixing bowl. And maybe you owe your mom a poundcake, too.
Nobody Doesn’t Like Poundcake
(adapted from Southern Living)
For a 6-cup bundt pan. Double this for a 12-cup bundt pan.
3/4 c./1.5 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.5 c. sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1.5 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
4 oz. sour cream
a small lemon (for the zest)
1 vanilla bean
The secret to poundcake success is bringing your butter and eggs to room temperature and doing everything by hand.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF and butter and flour a bundt pan. Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together.
In a large bowl, zest the lemon and scrape the vanilla bean into the sugar. Use your fingers to rub them in. Add the butter and cream until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one by one, just until you can’t see the yolks.
Gently fold in one-third of the flour until it’s almost fully blended — leave it a little streaky. Fold in half of the sour cream the same way. Repeat with another third of the flour, then the other half of the sour cream. Now fold in the final third of the flour.
Spoon the batter into the pan. Give it a gently shake to even it out and smooth the top over with the spoon. Bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. In my 6-cup pan, this takes about 50 minutes.
Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto the rack to cool completely. Call your friends + family in the meantime to make plans to eat it. The cake can sit around for a few days and even tastes better for it.