Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mrs. Duke's Pound Cake

Tomorrow is Wesley's 21st birthday and we are going to Winston to have lunch with her. I have a picnic planned, but Mother Nature has a thunder storm planned, so we will see who wins. We'll figure something out, it seems like it has rained on Wesley's birthday more years than it has been sunny, we adjust.....

I baked her a cake..... not just any cake..... I baked, for the first time, Mrs. Duke's Pound Cake.

I have had this recipe for years but was too intimidated to bake it. Let me explain:
Evelyn Dukes was my mothers best friend and lived behind us in Myrtle Beach. She was a hard core, born in Maine, transplanted to the south,  church going woman. Her accent was a melding of Maine and Monks Corner South Carolina, and I loved to hear her talk. Her daughter was a babysitter for me when I was young, then I was a babysitter for her kids years later.

Every year for my birthday, Mrs. Dukes baked me a pound cake. Some years it was plain, some years it was lemon, some years there was an icing and this magical square that covered up the bundt pan hole.
I don't know why, but for some odd reason it was years and years before I ever figured all that out about the hole.... I just remembered this square that I would pull out of the cake and there would be a hole..... its complicated:)  don't you all have weird childhood memories that are distorted and odd?

Anyway, I loved this cake, it was the highlight of my birthday most years. My mom said no one could ever make one like it. So I never tried. Well, guess what, yes they can! I did today!  The other day, I looked at the recipe, and wondered what could be so complicated about it. So I gave it a try.

I believe the trick is, you have to make this cake with love. I got eggs yesterday from the farmer's market, the pretty ones that have shades of blue and cream and brown.

 I got whole milk, and it has to be Blue Bonnet margarine, which I didn't even know still existed. Sifted the flour in my grandmother's old sifter, used old yellow ware bowls, and handmade Whynot Pottery bowls and put on my grandmother's apron. And off I went. This is not in the Weight Watchers program, trust me. But, I really don't care! It's worth it.

I have made the same cake for Wesley for all the years of her birthday, the only cake she will ever eat. Hershey's Chocolate Bar cake. Do you know this cake? It's decadent and delicious, but I just wasn't into making that cake again. So pound cake it is, and I made a lemon glaze icing with buttermilk. I also added a little lemon and zest to the cake itself. It is divine!

Shopped the farmers market yesterday for picnic food. I picked up some camembert cheese from the Chapel Hill Creamery, beautiful purple radishes, some bread from Chicken Bridge Bakery and I made some strawberry preserves from the berries one farmer had to go with the bread. Got Wesley a cute little house plant for her room, memento from the Reynolda greenhouse visit. I would love for the weather to cooperate, but I have a feeling we might be seeking indoor shelter somewhere for our picnic.
Oh well....... we will be together, that's the most important thing! But seriously, do I really have a 21 year old child?!


cookingwithgas said...

Yes, you can!
I love pound cake, this looks great.
Tell Wesley HappyHappy BIRTHDAY from us.

Dennis Allen said...

I'm sure you will have a great picnic even if you have to eat it in the car.Hope Wes has a wonderful birthday.

Sandy miller said...

YUM! Have a grand birthday with Wes :) Great pound cake story and well deserved to be passed down.

littlemancat said...

That looks so good! Mrs.Duke lives on - love the associations with recipes and people in our lives past and present. Happy Birthday to Wesley!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's beautiful! My only successful cake is a german chocolate cake. Happy birthday to Wesley (& to you, too- I always feel like mom's should get a little of the birth day celebration)

Trish said...

What a treat for Wesley!! I understand the "do I really have a daughter 21' comment.. I say "do I really have a daughter who is 31!!! I made myself an angel food cake on Tuesday - my birthday - just plain, no icing, but with strawberries and frozen yogurt. It was a treat too. Have a wonderful celebration and Happy Day to Wesley. Cheers. T.