Saturday, May 26, 2007

Project Cookbook: Pound Cake

One project that has been waiting in the wings for about six months is the production of the second edition of the family cookbook. The first edition is twenty years old, and some of my sibs (and now nieces) have asked for a update. Part of the joy of all of this is recounting the family stories that these recipes are tied to. The unearthing last summer of my grandmother's recipe file is another impetus. The last version was spiral bound and printed on a dot-matrix printer (and composed on my IBM PC). This version will get laser printed and hand bound, testament to the new technologies and the very old (I learned to hand bind in a class on illuminated manuscripts). I'm going to post the recipes as I go, partly so I can have a searchable archive to go along with the codex when it's complete, partly so I can ask sibs to comment.

First recipe:

Pound cake

4 sticks of Imperial margarine
1 pound confectioner's sugar
6 eggs
3 cups cake flour

Cream margarine and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add cake flour. Bake in a ungreased loaf pan at 300oF for 1 1/2 hours. Let it cool in the pan.

My mother made this as long as I can remember. The top of the cake always had a crack running its length. She always used Imperial margarine to make it, memorable, since margarine otherwise never made an appearance at our table or in her kitchen. She produced it from memory for me a couple of days before she died. It's been sitting on a sticky on my cabinet ever since. She said she got it from my paternal grandmother, Sally Miller, whose father was a tavern keeper, and was pretty sure it had come from an Imperial margarine box. (Fifty fewer got me to think about taking it down, and what to do with it when I did. It's in my writing notebook.)

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