Great Grandma Bryant could work us all under the table, and she only had one leg. She would roll herself to the garden, leap out of the chair, and cultivate the many vegetables and tobacco she grew in the North Carolina farmland of Sampson County. She was a hard worker and a Southern cook, not by choice, but by necessity. One of her handwritten recipes lives on in a frame on my kitchen counter, and is posted below along with my version of the recipe.
We visited Great Grandma and Grandpa (Susie and Amos Bryant ) almost every Christmas and I feel very lucky to have known and been exposed to them and the Carolina way. We explored old houses that survived the Civil War, took tractor rides down dirt roads, ran through fields, explored tobacco barns, and listened to and shared many stories.
Great Grandma’s Pound Cake My Way:
- 1 lb of butter – room temperature
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 cups of sugar
- 10 large eggs – room temperature
- 1/4 cup half and half or egg nog
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of peach brandy
- Cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla, brandy and salt. Mix well.
- Crack all eggs in a pourable container. I use a pyrex 2 cup measurer
- Measure out all flour and have in 1 container.
- Add a little egg and a little flour to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix and repeat until all eggs and flour have been incorporated.
- Add the half and half or egg nog and mix.
- Butter the hell out of your cake pan. Use a bundt pan or Marianne pan. I admit I use Pam baking spray. It never sticks!
- Pour cake batter evenly in the cake pan and bang the pan on the counter several times to release air bubbles.
- Place cake pan in a cold oven and turn the heat on 275°.
- In about 2-2.5 hours your cake will be ready. The edges will be a golden-medium brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Take cake out and let it rest for 10 minutes before flipping onto a cake plate
I like to use a Marianne pan when making this cake because I like to add seasonal toppings. So many toppings can be added.
- pecan praline sauce on a regular bundt cake
- stewed apples, or pears, or both
- cook down blackberries with a little sugar
- mix port wine with powdered sugar and whipped cream – called syllabub in the South
- muddled cherries folded into whipped cream