Let me get this out of the way before I go any further;
I don’t like cake.
Hate me…go ahead. Hate me for not liking cake.
This is one of the exceptions to my unexpected hatred.
Rewind a year to shortly after I began baking…
I’ve always known of this beautiful blog called 17 and Baking but always dazed over how things seemed to come out so perfectly. Elissa(blog creator) always seemed to be able to spin magnificent tales about her life to the recipes she baked with the same care as the life she lives. Her pictures made me want to drool at the screen while her words made me crave to write in a similar manner. To be honest, I doubt this blog would even be in existence if it wasn’t for hers wowing me from the start.
It was the week of 5/9/10 according to my “Baker’s List” when I decided to finally take a shot at one of her recipes. I still remember this vividly. Carolina spring sun crept through my kitchen window on a Friday afternoon. My non-mainstream music blared as I swirled to the sound of the best band in the world; the kitchen.
Come on! Come on! We’ll keep running til’ we burn out the sun, sun
And make our way down every street til’ we get back home.
It didn’t take me that long to measure everything out including my surprise that you can make buttermilk.
Three sticks of butter? Okay…
Two and a half cups of sugar? Fine…?
I was off and genuinely happy.
My Mom came home from work briefly after I placed the cake in the oven and told me “I don’t like pound cake.”. Great. So one of us doesn’t like cake while the other doesn’t like pound cake. Three days passed as the cake sat; hidden from sight and forgotten about. Sunday (happened to be Mother’s Day) rolled around and my Mom grew antsy as my brother overslept his promise of a fully cooked breakfast. Without much hesitation, I brought out the pound cake and oohed at how thick it was to the knife. To my amazement, my pound cake hating mother loved it and I actually enjoyed it too.
For the next month, I practically baked it every-other-week. My friends became sick of it at one point they had it so much but begged me to bake it when I stopped. About two weeks after Mother’s Day was one of my most beloved teachers birthday…Father Conductor. Eyes the color of faded denim and a sense of humor larger than a tuba was one of the reasons I began to love band. The room was a safe haven and between the class clowns in the back and all of his chotchkies; there never was a dull moment nor a moment you doubted his love for his job. The smell of Instant Noodles or other sodium filled meals he loved always wafered out of his office and if you caught him during lunch, chances are; he was watching things such as Survivor or Amazing Race or Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Never far from his sight was a picture or someone/something he cherished.
Hurricane posters/bobble heads; check.
Harry Potter magnets; check.
Hot pink conductor stick; check.
Picture of his Granddaughter; check.
My last year of middle school was his 60th birthday that happened to fall on the day of my final concert. The fact we had a concert that night didn’t set him back from going all out. The excitement he had over senior discounts was contagious and everyone looked forward to his birthday. I decided to bake him a cake…this cake. While getting it out of the pan, it problems and ripped. With toothpicks and a simple cream-cheese glaze, the cake was good as new and loved every bite. That day, his room was decked in 60′s garb and he bought two extra large cakes for the classes he taught to share. Even the principal could tell how much the band and Father Conductor got along. Something about how when he started conducting or a class, he gave this look promising everything will be alright. That this is it and he’s proud of progress. That even if the world going to end tomorrow, at least we enjoyed our time in the band room. His past was our history and our present was his present so why not make the most of it?
I was fortunate in middle school to have two teachers I really connected with. At the end of the year, I gave the other a bag filled with assorted bits and pieces. The bottom of the bag was this pound cake. She made me leave her sight so she wouldn’t cry. I know she cried eventually over the fact time goes by too fast but it is what it is.
Rewind to this year…
In November, I attempted to make the recipe more “Fall Like”. Apple cider instead of lemon juice and some sugar, cinnamon, and whole grain flour was added. Nothing tastes as good as the original though.
Then in February, I was running with some friends in gym and happened to bring up this cake. My best friend running behind us overheard me and kept repeating his joy over pound cake while speeding up to catch up with us. His eyes lit up like I’ve never seen before as he continued his mantra.
This past Sunday, I got to work baking this oh-so-close-to-my-heart cake. Remembering the steady rhythm, I breathed a deep sigh of nostalgia. Everything came together like I remembered. This time, I poured the memories with him in the cake and slid into the 300 degree oven. Not even half way through the baking process, my Mom came home like the first time I baked it.
“What’s baking? I can smell it from the garage.“
This is more than a cake. It warms the entire house with it’s light, sweet perfumey lullaby; just like the hearth of every home…care.
Cruze Farm Buttermilk Pound Cake
Makes a 9” bundt cake
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted room temperature butter, plus more for greasing the pan
3 1⁄2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cultured buttermilk (see above to make your own)
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour a bundt pan.
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and drizzle in the sugar, creaming it well. Add the eggs one at a time, after the egg before it has been incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract, scraping down the sides. On low speed, add a third of the flour mixture until just combined. Then add a third of the buttermilk mixture until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk. Stir in the lemon juice.
Smooth the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick or thin knife comes out clean, about 75 minutes. The cake should be browned and the edges should be starting to pull away. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely.
***To make buttermilk, pour 1 tablespoon vinegar(I typically use apple cider as it’s what’s used in red velvet cake to make it more moist) into a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill the rest with milk. Let sit 5-10 minutes
****I typically have to bake this cake for ~100 minutes.
****The secret to pound cake is age. Let sit for at least 2 days