Baking isn't really my jam. For starters it's way too precise for me. A pinch too much of this or a dash too little of that and you're screwed. I feel like my baking failures are almost a self-fulfilling prophecy at this point because for the life of me, I can't bake! I follow the directions and know what taste I'm looking for and my finished product is always just way off. For someone who thrives on creating generally edible meals, failing at baking is a blow to the ego so I rarely do it…except when it comes to pound cakes.
Pound cake is just another one of those things that black people have a strong culinary tie to. It has had an honored place at lively spades parties, Fish Fry Fridays, reunions, funerals, church gatherings and almost any other event in which large amounts of black people are gathered. While pound cake has graced the tables of countless black families’ tables across generations, it is actually a European-based dessert that dates back to the 18th-century. Original recipes called for a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour…hence the moniker!
When I knew I was going to meet Shep's parents for the first time I decided to try my hand at baking one more ‘gin. I wanted to bring them a homemade poundcake. It seemed like a nice gesture with a good amount of historical importance so I called my grandmother to get her recipe. My grandmother is an amazing Soul Food cook. Her sweet potato pie is the stuff of dreams so I felt like going to her was a good bet. She broke my heart when she told me that she just used Betty Crocker's boxed pound cake as a base and then doctored it up!
The purist in me refused to bring Shep's parents boxed pound cake so I researched recipes that I thought would give me the most authentic version of the cake I'd grown up with. I finally settled on this recipe by Grandbaby Cakes. It’s not a traditional pound cake in that the glaze is browned butter based, but if you want to omit that (why would you?) you can and you’re still left with a deliciously dense vanilla pound cake.