Pound Cake

Pound cake has been a staple dessert in the diet of many southerners. Personally, I have not gone a holiday without seeing it offered on the dessert table. This cake has a simple recipe and ingredient list which makes it accessible to all people. It was originally created in Britain in the early 1700s and was called pound cake because it had a pound of its four ingredients: sugar, butter, flour, and eggs. This recipe was introduced to America in America’s first cookbook, American Cookery, written by Amelia Simmons in the late 1700s. The next prominent pound cake recipe that would forever connect the dessert to the south was Abby Fisher’s version in her book, What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, from 1881. Fisher was a former slave in South Carolina who was freed after the Civil War. Her cookbook made Fisher the first published African American chef. Fisher’s pound cake recipe used egg whites and yeast to help the cake rise since mixers were not around to help people beat the large amount of butter pound cakes usually demand. 

Over the years as new ingredients and kitchen appliances are made, pound cake recipes in the south have gained some variety but it has mainly stayed the same. The typically southern pound cake is dense, baked in a loaf or bundt pan, and has a vanilla or lemon flavor. These cakes will sometimes have an iced top layer to add more flavor. In the south, it is common for each family to have their own version of a pound cake recipe. Although it may seem hard to tell the difference in a cake with such few ingredients, each family recipe has its own recipe they never stray from. Pound cake holds a lot of importance in southern culture, not just for its place as a staple dessert, but because it allows families to continue traditions made by their past generations. The south prides itself on following traditions, good or bad, and the passing down of pound cake recipes has given families a tradition of their own. Pound cake recipes allow family members to stay connected with one another, even as generations go by.

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