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Classic Southern Pound Cake Recipe

A southern woman’s pound cake recipe is a trade secret, her calling card in social circles. So when my mom was given this recipe from Kate Hogwood, a sweet 82-year old widow in our North Carolina neighborhood, she knew she had a treasure.

This recipe is smooth and rich, moist and flavorful.  It pairs perfectly with fresh-cut strawberries and home-style whipped cream.  Another bonus? It freezes like a dream, so make the full recipe, freeze the second cake and your dessert is ready for the next event.

I like to believe Kate was passing on her recipe for safe keeping and more importantly, for sharing. For authenticity, I left the recipe just as Kate wrote it down.

Kate Hogwood’s Southern Pound Cake Recipe

2 Loaf Pans or 1 Tube Pan
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
5 eggs
½ cup butter
½ cup margarine
¼ cup shortening, either butter or regular
2 Tbs boiling water
1 Tbs vanilla
½ tsp almond flavoring
½ tsp coconut flavoring
¼ tsp lemon flavoring

Have all ingredients at room temperature.  Cream sugar, butter, margarine and shortening.  Add boiling water.  Lower the speed of the mixer after the addition of eggs, one at a time. Add flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.  Flavorings may be added at any time during the mixing process.  Grease the bottom of a 10-inch tube pan or two loaf pans (Pam works fine).  Pour batter into prepared pan and put cake in cold oven.  Turn heat to 325. Bake tube pan for one hour and 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Loaves should take about an hour.  Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.

“I hope you have good success with this cake. I cook with gas so you may have to cook yours at 350 if you use an electric stove.  Some say 350 is better for electric stoves. You may have to experiment to see which is best.  I put mine on the lower rack to bake, but I don’t know which is best for electric ovens.  It might be good to check the cake two or three times before the baking time is over.  I have had my oven act up a bit and bake it too brown.  When it begins to shrink from the sides of the pan, it is done.  Please let me know how yours turns out.”

Love, Kate Hogwood

“P.S. If you are using an electric oven, 325 works better than 350, but preheat the oven, then baking time should be fairly accurate.”

Like Kate states, there are key steps to getting this right. Follow the tips about having ingredients at room temperature, lowering the speed after you add the eggs and putting into a cold oven.  You’ll want to use Bake, not Convection Bake to allow the batter to cook slowly and rise evenly and form the crispy crust on top. Don’t be afraid to let the cake turn golden brown.  The inside will stay a traditional yellow.

Your guests will fight over the crunchy top. You’ll never need to buy a frozen pound cake again, promise.

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Comments (1)

  1. Michelle H 05/24/2012 at 8:27 pm

    Amy-You gave me this recipe 12+ years ago and we have LOVED it ever since. It’s the only cake we will make when Strawberry Shortcake is on our menu and Stephen brags to everyone that this is the best pound cake ever! Definitely a keeper.