Sally's Pound Cake

September  9, 2013
Photo by Sophie Lampl
Author Notes

There’s certain, let’s say, obsessive trait that is common to chefs and producers. I prefer to call it passion. It was no surprise that at one point in my career I toyed with the idea of recreating myself as a pastry chef. In my off time I took any pastry and baking class I could get my hands on. I baked wedding cakes for friends as their wedding gift and took it a step further by baking my own wedding cake. What was I thinking? Right, that passion thing. It is no accident that a highlight of co-producing an NPR radio series was sharing recipes with guest Nora Ephron.

Although I can cover a skyscraper sized a cake with sugar flowers and lace piping, at the end of the day the best tasting cake is my mother Sally’s pound cake. You know the cake. The ever-satisfying comfort cake and a sure thing for any holiday, housewarming or Shiva . My family calls it Sally’s Pound Cake. Disclosure -it’s not her recipe, but, over time and enough claiming it became Sally’s Pound Cake. At one point it was called Sally’s Golden Feathery Pound Cake but I thought that was taking it too far. The recipe was shared with her by an acquaintance Sis – it didn’t take long before Sis was out of the pound cake picture and it was all Sally’s. It’s so 60’s that Presto flour is an ingredient – Presto can still be found in any grocery store worth it’s salt.

It is the little black dress of pound cakes. Simple and elegant on it’s own, but, accessorized with fruit, cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce it is a grand finale for any dinner party. It is the thing that memories are made of when day old and toasted with a slather of butter and good conversation. I mix the batter in her green Pyrex bowl and bake the cake in the same tube pan she used . You should use your Kitchen Aid, but, for me that would be less Zen. After all, it’s a sentimental cake. It has lots of butter and lots of heart.

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves 8-10
  • 3 Cups Presto flour (self-rising) 1 Cup unsalted butter softened (the original recipe calls for 1 stick Oleo and 1 stick Spry) 2 Tablespoons of hot water 1 ¾ Cups of granulated sugar ¾ Cup of whole milk 2 teaspoons of vanilla 4 unbeaten eggs
  • 3 cups Presto self rising flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened (the original called for 1 stick Spry and 1 stick of Oleo
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, unbeaten
  • (there are no second set of ingredients )
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9" tube pan.
  2. Blend hot water and butter in stand mixer and beat until smooth.
  3. Sift in the flour and the sugar.
  4. Add the milk, vanilla and 2 of the eggs and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  5. Add 2 more eggs and beat for 2 more minutes.
  6. Turn batter into butter and floured 9" tube pan.
  7. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. Depending on your oven it may be done sooner - keep an eye on it!
  8. Cool on rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and dust with confectioners sugar if you're going the unadorned route.

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