Classic Pound Cake — Down-Home Comfort
There’s nostalgia associated with comfort food. Comfort food is food that is simple, solid and reminds us of childhood. Buttery, rich pound cake might very well be the ultimate down-home comfort dessert. It’s the cake that consoles as well as celebrates. It’s the all-purpose cake that’s perfect for birthdays, baby showers, funerals and everything in between. Pound cake is the slice of cake served with gossip and coffee to the neighbor down the street as well as for a baby’s first birthday. It’s the solid understudy waiting patiently under the cake dome, ready to step in at a moment’s notice.
This cake has been a constant in my life and it has been my birthday cake many, many times — including my first. Our family holidays would not be complete without it. With a crispy, dark-brown sugary crust and a tender egg-yellow crumb, it’s my go-to cake.
Pound cake needs no icing — it’s moist enough to be served unadorned. The beauty is in its simplicity, and it is perfect year-round. If you wish to liven things up, in spring it can be topped with strawberries, in summer with peaches or berries, and in the fall with sauteed apples or pears. Winter means it’s time to pull out the peaches you put up last summer or perhaps a dollop of homemade jam or jelly. Apart from that, a slice of pound cake toasted in a skillet with an additional dab of butter is pure glorious excess.
Georgia-born, French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton and harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. A Southern food authority, she is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all and Basic to Brilliant, Y'all , among others. Follow her continuing exploits at VirginiaWillis.com.