You know how I’ve written about not quite fitting into my family as a non-sewer? Because the women in my family? THEY SEW. They embroider and knit and hem and quilt and design custom prom dresses.
It’s crazy, really.
But the women in my family also COOK. And while most of us like to experiment with new recipes, shortcuts and updates, some recipes are sacred.
Case in point: The Pound Cake.
My Granny made the best pound cake, and for years, nobody else could replicate it. Somehow, the cake gods have smiled upon us in recent years, though. After my Granny passed away, my mom eventually mastered the pound cake – and it’s just as good as Granny’s ever was.
(Nobody will ever hold a candle to Granny’s brisket, though. That’s just a fact.)
The pound cake is a big deal in my family. We don’t have a get-together or holiday celebration without one. We JUST DON’T. Some of us eat it with a fork, some with our hands, some with butter slathered on top. (I don’t know. And I’m not naming names. Because, ew.) But WE ALL EAT IT.
So when my mom and dad gave me a bundt pan and a copy of Granny’s precious recipe for Christmas last year, well, the pressure was ON. Because you don’t just throw this cake together and hope for the best. You don’t just make this cake like you do any other cake. Are you hearing me? THE POUND CAKE IS SPECIAL.
That’s why it’s taken me 11 months to get up the nerve to attempt it on my own.
As it turns out, it wasn’t that hard. And the cake sitting on my counter right now? IT IS DELICIOUS and perfect and JUST LIKE GRANNY USED TO MAKE IT.
[Side note: I passed my second glucose test. I don’t have gestational diabetes. Cake is allowed again.]
The key – that my mom spent years figuring out and then generously shared with me – is the secret ingredient. As Annalyn and I were mixing up the cake last night, she stopped stirring [and spreading flour all over the counter] and said, “But, Mom! What about THE SPECIAL INGREDIENT?! Allie [my mom] says we have to put in THE SPECIAL INGREDIENT!”
I assured her all would be fine and pointed to THE SPECIAL INGREDIENT I had sitting next to the vanilla and baking soda. Everything would be okay. We had THE SPECIAL INGREDIENT.
See, in addition to a teaspoon of regular vanilla, Granny’s recipe calls for “butter nut flavoring.” But not just ANY butter nut flavoring. No, it must be imitation (I KNOW.), and it must be butter AND nut – not butternut.
We know this because my mom tried them all. And none was JUST RIGHT until she found McCormick’s Imitation Vanilla Butter and Nut Flavoring.
You guys, this is not an ad or commercial. It’s simply a good-faith gesture to save you the time and pain and less-than-awesome pound cake experiences we went through. This stuff is hard to find. Watkin’s apparently used to make something similar – but doesn’t anymore. Finding the bottle of McCormick’s in the store is next to impossible, and ordering from Amazon costs an arm and a leg.
So the real gift last year wasn’t the bundt pan, but the recipe itself (in Granny’s handwriting) – AND A BOTTLE OF THE PRECIOUS [imitation] EXTRACT.
I don’t have an explanation for the power this cake – or the extract – holds over my family. But I do know my first go-round of making pound cake was a success. (Let’s not talk about how I ran out of flour and had to put my mixing on hold for a last-minute trip to the grocery store. Nope, we’ll just forget THAT happened.)
If your family needs a special cake…or you miss your Granny…or you have a stash of tiny bottles filled with imitation butter and nut extract, this recipe is for you.
Just don’t put butter on your piece, okay?
Sour Cream Pound Cake
3 level cups sugar
2 sticks butter
3 level cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter & nut extract
8 oz. sour cream
Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one or two at a time. Alternate adding in flour and sour cream, then add flavorings. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees in bundt pan.
After cake cools, flip onto cake platter. I prefer the top to stay the top, though, so you’ll have to flip it back over again. It lays flatter on the plate that way – and makes sure the delicious top part doesn’t get squished.
I suppose you could use this recipe as a foundation for any sort of flavored pound cake. Add in pumpkin or cocoa or fruit if you’d like. I mean, it’s not how Granny did it. But maybe your family likes that sort of thing.
What recipe or dish is special to YOUR family?
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Glad you don’t have gestational diabetes, Mary!
Thanks, Leigh! I was surprised and relieved to say the least!
That cake sounds delicious! I wish I could bake…my baking adventures usually end in disaster!
So glad cake is allowed again :)
Thanks, Stacey! (And I’ve had plenty of baking adventures end in disaster, I promise you!!)
I just put my cake in the oven! I couldn’t find the butter & nut extract so I mixed hazelnut extract and butter extract together. Hope it taste great!
How did it turn out, Kelsey?
Thank you for this recipe. I made this last night and it turned out perfect. I had never made a pound cake before. Your directions were fabulous. I must agree with you, by far the best pound cake ever. I will be making this again soon.
Yay!! So glad it turned out well for you!
I am making a pound cake for the first time and yours happens to be the most simple and delicious looking.
2 quick questions:
Is a tube pan necessary or can I use the same measurements in a bundt pan?
Also, have you ever freezed this cake? I was thinking of making this weekend and then defrosting the day of Christmas to serve. I am super paranoid of placing sweets in the fridge in fear of flavors mixing.
Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas !
Hi Maquita! You can definitely use a bundt pan. I wanted to, as a matter of fact, but don’t have one and realized what I have is actually an angel food cake pan! (And yes, ma’am, it DID drip all over my oven – grrr!) So use whatever pan you’d like. :)
I haven’t frozen this cake yet, but my mom has and it defrosts just fine. Then again, if you store it in the fridge for the few days between this weekend and Christmas, it would probably be fine, too. Good luck! And Merry Christmas to you, too!
Just making this cake and it has dripped so much overr my oven that it started to burn. I am afraid it will make the cake taste burned. Also it is not anywhere near done within an hour and the top is getting too dark. This was supposed to go to my church bazaar tomorrow. I’m afraid it will looke too bad to take. I have never had problems with pound cakes and this one sounded so good, I wanted to try it. Keep your fingers crossed!
Oh, Diana, I’m so bummed to hear that. I hope you were able to salvage it!
Thank you for sharing. Do I need to prep the pan at all (i.e. Butter and Flour) before filling with the batter?
Yes, I’d spray it with baking spray.
Mary I cerrtainly understand about the butternut flavoring..years ago we lived in charlotte n c they had a small place that made the best flavoring you have ever tasted. The name was superior flavoring. Well my mom also made a cake using butternut. The company. Went out of business.I have a bottle with a small amount in it but afraid to use its so old.it was thick and creamy not watery and runny like mccormicks..thanks for sharing this with me.
Well I jjst went on the internet and Superior flavoring is ztill in business will be getting me some butternut flavoring
Happy Home flavorings makes a imitation Butter & Nut flavoring.
Thanks for the tip, Delores!
You do mean baking powder and not baking soda, right?
Yep, that’s right!
No. I don’t know why I replied wrong in June – I’m so sorry! It really should be baking SODA.
Can the baking powder be excluded?
No, I don’t think so.
FYI – it’s baking SODA, not baking POWDER.
Just put mine in the oven! I am so excited! I subbed the butter & nut extract for buttery dough emulsion.
I hope it was great, Krista!
Girrrrrrrrrrrrrrl…that was one of the best poundcakes I have ever eaten! Thanks for the recipe! :-)
Yay!! So glad you liked it!
Wait so it’s baking powder and not baking soda? I’m confused and about to try this lol!
No! Why did I say that? I’m so sorry!! It’s SODA. I just double-checked my Granny’s original recipe in her handwriting. It’s baking SODA.
Just made thd sour cream pound cake today. If turned out perfect. Little dark on sides cause I didn’t use bakers joy spray. Left if in iven extra 5 minutes. But omg. Is wonderful. Thanks for recipe
Someone mentioned the cake wasn’t done @350 in an hour…..does this go into a cold oven? There is no mention of preheating. I have a pound cake that I put into a cold oven and its done in 1hr 15 @325 perfect light brown.
I just made this cake for the first time today and it is by far the best pound cake I’ve ever had! It is perfectly moist and flavorful. I enjoyed it warm out of the oven with a fresh strawberry glaze on top…simply delightful!
Yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
You didn’t say what kind of flour to use I baked it and I used white lilly self rising flour it made a mess in my oven the cake failed but the flavor was awesome about to try to make it again
Oh no! Definitely try again with all-purpose flour. It should turn out much better that way!
I have an elderly diabetic client that loves pound cake so he says. I would like to bake him one. I wonder if Splenda or Swerve will be ok in place of sugar in this recipe. Any help appreciated. I want to surprise him and put a smile on his face.
Hi Katie! I’ve never baked with Splenda or Swerve, so I’m not sure how it would change (or not) this cake. My only suggestion would be googling the question or looking on the Splenda or Swerve websites. Sorry I’m not more help!
Do the oven has to be preheated or Cold?
I’m sure the cake is wonderful, but mostly I just LOVE the story behind the cake. Cooking & sharing recipes will bring back precious memories.
Absolutely! (But you should try the cake, too! ;) )
I’m so excited to try this recipe! I found the McCormick butter and nut flavoring at Festival Foods, I think it’s something they have around the holidays. Just a heads up in case you have Wisconsinites on your site that are searching for it.
Oooh, thanks for the tip, Amy!
I found vanilla butter and nut flavor would I still need the vanilla extract
I wouldn’t think so, but I’m not sure. If you try it, will you let us know how it turns out?
Cake came out gr8 it really was a hit for thanksgiving I was asked to make another for Christmas!!!
I’ll b sure to let u know I’m baking the cake when I get off today… I’m so excited I hope it turns out good my mom is the baker I’m not lol
I just tried your pound cake …very easy to make …I used real vanilla bean….and some real vanilla extract…..thank you for a great recipe….I’m putting the picture up on Pinterest and gladly give you the credit….Donna Lee under my creations
One hour was not long enough, for this cake to bake. I have a similar recipe that calls for 1.5 hours. I flipped this onto a cake plate, at a little over an hour…batter went everywhere. I ended up baking it almost an hour and 45 minutes.
Different ovens cook differently, that’s for sure. I hope your cake was good once it finally finished baking!
How much is 2 sticks of butter?
Two sticks of butter is one cup.
Do you sift the flour?
No, I don’t.
Do you use unsalted or salted butter? Or does it matter?
I’ve always used unsalted, but I’m not sure it matters. :)
Mary, I made your pound cake today for the family and they loved it. My only criticism is my hubby was helping me and in the mixing I found the salt and baking soda sitting on the counter unused. When I asked him about it he said, “The recipe never said put it in! ” LOL