In For a Penny

Pay attention, this is a good one.

My friend Duncan makes pound cake. Prize-winning vanilla pound cake. And I can tell you how.

Vanilla Pound Cake

Preheat oven to 350.

2 sticks butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

5 large chicken eggs or 4 large duck eggs

3 cups flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Seeds of one vanilla bean (I didn’t have a vanilla bean the first time I made this, so instead I upped the vanilla to two Tablespoons, and it was delicious. I’ve since increased my store of beans, but I continue to use 2 Tablespoons of vanilla. A little extra vanilla never hurt anyone.)

Cream butter, shortening, and sugar very well.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Duncan then sifts the flour, baking powder, and salt. I am not a sifter. I also don’t win any prizes.

Add a third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.

Add half the sour cream.

Add second third of dry ingredients.

Add rest of sour cream.

Add final third of dry ingredients.

Add vanilla and seeds.

Blend well.

At this point Duncan pours the batter into a greased and floured angel food pan. I do not own an angel food pan, so I use two round 8 or 9″ pans, well-buttered.

For an angel food pan, cook 1 hour and 15 minutes, til toothpick comes out clean.

For two round pans, my family is happiest if I bake for precisely 43 minutes. Those with slightly less discerning palates would likely be happy with anywhere around 45 minutes.

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