My mother loved fresh apple cakes. I'd often make one for her during the fall. She especially liked a fresh apple pound cake that I made for her. After all, it's pound cake.
Her love of fresh apple cakes inspired me to take the best of my sour cream pound cake recipe and fresh apple pound cake and smush them together to create a Fresh Apple Sour Cream Pound Cake, in loving memory of her. My mother was raised by the greatest cook this side of Glory. Her mother, my Granny, was my inspiration for cooking. It seems that the love-of-cooking part of DNA from Granny passed over my mother to me. I wound up with a double dose. My mother worked outside the home and didn't enjoy the luxury of taking as much time as needed to plan, shop, prep, and cook meals. Cooking wasn't something she did for enjoyment. It was strictly a chore necessary to sustain life; a chore she dreaded.
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As the eldest of three, I assumed responsibility for family meals at an early age. I had an interest and an aptitude for cooking. Preparing meals was more than a necessary chore to me. It was a creative outlet and a chance to explore cookbooks and new recipes. These were the days prior to convenient access to recipes in online sources, when print publications like cookbooks, newspapers, and magazines, were principal sources.
As my mother's health deteriorated, she became activity intolerant. She struggled to walk even short distances, and, as a result, extended periods of time in her recliner watching TV netted a newfound love: the Food Network.
She’d see a segment that interested her and call me: "I want you to make me that dish that I just saw Emeril make."
Off I'd go to the Food Network archives to try and figure out what dish she saw Emeril make. Even with limited information from my mother, I could always figure out what she wanted me to cook. Each visit to her house would include me cooking some of her old favorites along with the latest dish that piqued her interest on Food Network.
Pound cakes are my favorite type of cake to make and eat—especially to eat. I find the texture and flavor outstanding. They're soft yet dense; flavorful yet not overpowering. In a word: perfection. It's no wonder they're considered iconic to Southern culture. Pound cakes are quite simple to construct. The steps are few: cream butter and sugar, add eggs, alternate mixing wet and dry ingredients, bake, cool, and serve. It's not any more difficult than that. Pound cakes are a terrific addition to a holiday or special occasion menu. You can bake them ahead of a special day and decrease the work load for THE day. They’re even better after they've "cured" for a few days.
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Make a pound cake for your next road trip or picnic. They're packable and travel well. As a child, I would anticipate the type of cake Granny would bring with her when she and Granddaddy visited. She always brought cake and usually it was pound cake. My mother would have loved this pound cake. If you do decide to make it, look up to the sky and smile as you cut your first slice. She'll be smiling right back at you.
Jackie Garvin is an Alabama born and raised, award-winning author and cook. She is the author of the popular Southern food blog, "Syrup and Biscuits", and two Southern-inspired cookbooks: Biscuits and Sweet Potato Love. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and Basset Hound, both of whom are well fed.