Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pound Cake Dessert And A Slice Of History Too

STRAWBERRY SEASON IS HERE!!! And I'm excited to tell you about a dessert I served my family this week-end because it not only received rave reviews, but it can be made with lots of variations.

I made it from scratch, but if you want to take shortcuts, it could easily be made using store-bought items.
I combined a pound cake with ice cream, strawberries and a couple of rolled wafers from Europe. EASY!

For the pound cake, I experimented with a very old recipe. Perhaps I should even say an antique recipe! Hold on to your seats, now -- this recipe is from a cookbook published in ... 1796 ... when America was very young indeed! It worked out beautifully.

It's a traditional pound cake recipe where you use a pound of each ingredient. It's a bit different from today's recipes because it makes a lot, there is no baking powder (I don't think it was invented yet) and there is no milk. In many of today's pound cake recipes, you'll find that they ask for 1 cup of milk, but it increases your baking time to about one hour! If you don't add any milk, your baking time is a fast 15 minutes and that's really good for today's busy lifestyles and expensive utility bills.

But if even that is too much work for you, then Sara Lee will be happy to come to your rescue. The same is true for the ice cream. Our son loves to crank the handle of our ice
cream makers (we have 2!) so it's not a chore, but if that's not for you, I'm sure there's a half gallon of ice cream in your freezer. Instant presto, Pound Cake a la Mode!

I have been desperately waiting for strawberry season to arrive this year. For the last several weeks the grocery stores have been teasing me with
unripe strawberries, but at long last, my local farmer's market had the most amazing strawberries. They smelled so good. They were so huge and so juicy too. It's going to be a great year for strawberries!

For the variations, just use different fruits, or a fruit sauce or jam, add some whipped cream, use a
lemon pound cake or a chiffon or sponge cake. You can use different flavors of ice cream or cookies instead of the wafers. I can picture so many variations and I hope it's inspiring you too.

Here's the recipe from the 1796 cookbook. It's the first American cookbook and was written by Amelia Simmons. In it's day, it was a best seller and was shamelessly plagiarized and "compiled" by numerous authors. You can see a review of this cookbook here.

Amelia Simmons'
First American Pound Cake

1 pound sugar
1 pound butter
1 pound flour
1 pound eggs (about 10 eggs)
Flavoring to taste
Spices to taste
Watch it well. It will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes.

Now how easy is that and don't you love the directions to this cake? She doesn't insult your intelligence telling you to sift, crack the egg, mix or anything. It's very easy to halve, quarter or even double this recipe and I know I won't forget it either, because it's one pound for each ingredient and it's called Pound Cake. :-)

It works for me so I'll be entering this post in Works For Me Wednesday too!


  1. mmm. We had California strawberries and pound cake last night. Of course, the pound cake was from Costco....

  2. That's great too! Costco has great tasting baked goods and there's several I won't even attempt to make. Some take too long, and some I might as well simplify my life. :-)

  3. What fun! I enjoyed this post. I often cook from vintage cookbooks. This is the oldest recipe I have: http://anapronaday.blogspot.com/2008/04/345-year-oldy-but-goody.html

    I'm giving surfing lessons today. Come see! :D


  4. Yum, yum, yum. Thanks for reminding me to get out to the strawberry patch! (And who doesn't love a slice of poundcake?)

  5. This looks delicious. Hubby is always asking me make a pound cake. I think I might just try this recipe!

  6. What a great recipe! Does it make just one loaf? Can't wait to get some strawberries...

  7. Apron Queen: Thank you for the link to your post. It's very interesting to have 2 cookbooks in 1 too!

    ames: It makes a lot more than one loaf! The recipe weighs 4 pounds. Unless you have a huge restaurant cake pan, the average household pan won't hold that much. I quartered the recipe (easy math!) and watched it VERY carefully as recommended by Amelia. It was ready in no time. It was very easy and very good though, so I think next time I will make the whole four pound recipe. It will be great for parties too.

  8. Sure looks DELICIOUS! I might try what you suggested and replace wafers
    with some yummy chocolate cookies:).
    Thanks for sharing.


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