Old Fashioned Pound Cake with Strawberry Sauce

I was going to post a recipe for corn salad.  But then I visited a friend and had a slice of the most amazing homemade pound cake EVAH!  

You're welcome.

I have known Gwen since 9th grade way back in the Bronx approximately a million years ago.  Decades have gone by, and despite years and a few location changes we both managed to land about an hour's drive from each other, getting together a every so often, usually for shopping.  Or for bbq's, most recently over this past Labor Day weekend.   Virtually everything Gwen makes is from scratch.  Even the ice cream.  So when she offered me sight unseen the choice of ice cream or cake, I of course said, "Both, please!"

Cake turned out to be pound cake.  Rich, buttery and totally swoon-worthy.  An old family recipe dating back to a great-aunt.  No one knows its original source, and a less-than-thorough research has not turned up anything matching.  I did have to tinker with the recipe slightly since the original calls for salted butter and I only had unsalted.  Also, the original calls for 3 cups sugar.   My version below calls for 2 1/4, because I like my cakes sweet but not cloying.

Serve thin slices plain, dusted with confectioner's sugar, or under strawberry sauce (recipe follows).

Old fashioned Pound Cake
Adapted from Gwen's family recipe
Yield:  16 servings

2 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, plus more for greasing pan
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk (regular or 2%), room temperature
3 cups sifted cake flour, plus additional 1/4 cup for dusting pan
1/4 cup sifted confectioner's sugar  or 1 recipe strawberry sauce (see recipe below), optional

Preheat oven to 350F.  Heavily grease 10-inch tube pan with removable insert, then dust with 1/4 cup flour.  Tap out and discard excess flour, then set pan aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, vegetable shortening and sugar together by first combining at low speed for 30 seconds, then at high speed for 5 minutes, stopping mixer to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stop machine and scrape down sides as needed.  Beat batter for an additional minute after adding last egg.

With mixture on low, add flour to batter alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour just until incorporated.

Pour and scrape batter into prepared pan.

Lightly run spatula over the top of the batter to smooth and even it out.  Carefully wipe up any drips to prevent burning.

Bake in preheated oven 1 hour and 20-35 minutes, or until top is browned and a toothpick inserted halfway between center and sides comes out clean.

Remove pan from oven and place on cooling rack.  Allow to cool at least 20 minutes before running a table knife around the edges and carefully removing the cake from the outer pan.  Run knife around bottom of cake and tube.  Place a dinner plate over the top and carefully invert cake.  Remove tube portion of pan.  Place cooling rack over cake; invert cake onto cooling rack.  Remove plate and let cake cool completely.

Serve cake plain, dusted lightly with confectioner's sugar, or drizzled with strawberry sauce.

Clean up crumbs using your favorite crumb picker-upper.

 Strawberry Sauce
Adapted from All Recipes
Yield: approximately 1 cup sauce
Note: Also great over pancakes

2 pts. fresh strawberries, rinsed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice

Rinse strawberries; drain well.  Hull strawberries, then coarsely chop.

Combine strawberries and  sugar in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until strawberries start to give off their juice and sugar dissolves.  Allow sauce come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.  Allow to simmer 15 minutes stirring occasionally until sauce thickens slightly.

Remove from heat. Using a hand blender, puree about 1/2 of the sauce.  Let cool about 15-20 minutes, then refrigerate, covered, up to 2 days.  Sauce will thicken a bit more as it cools.


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