Saturday, July 25, 2020

Mrs. Duke's Pound Cake

 I don't really remember any of my birthdays as a kid. Probably lots of reasons why, but there is one thing I do remember. Mrs. Dukes pound cake. Every year she would bring me one for my birthday. It was the best pound cake I have ever tasted and I remember it fondly, as I do her. Before she passed, I asked for the recipe and this is what she sent me.

As you can see, there are not a lot of details! I have never been baker, I can cook, but I am still learning to bake. I had to teach myself to cook when we got married, my mom did not cook and I had more experience eating in restaurants than boiling water.

Back when I first attempted this recipe, my skills were no where near where they needed to be to follow a recipe like this. The cake was a disaster and I never tried again...... Until today.

I have been cooking every day since March 15, watching the Great British Baking show with Wesley, reading all of my old cookbooks, and my baking skills are improving. What else am I going to do in COVID isolation!?
So today, I dug out this recipe and tried again. For some reason this pound cake has been on my mind and I wanted it.

Can I just say..... it tasted exactly like I remember it!!  Right down to the chewy parts of the crust. It was moist, flavorful and just perfect. It even came out of the bundt pan with only one tiny chunk sticking. I have felt pretty pleased with myself today!

Since I was on a roll with the cake success, I decided to try this tomato soup recipe I came across in a book I have, Dinner at Mrs. Lady's. This is an absurd book, I can't remember why I have it, but it does have some interesting recipes.  

I have been on a quest for years to duplicate my mom's tomato soup that she only made when I was sick and home from school. I don't know why one of the only things I ever liked that she made was a soup she only made when I was getting over a stomach bug..... I have asked her several times to tell me how to make it, never really got an answer that was helpful, so I have tried on my own. I did find one recipe that was very close, but couldn't find it again. This one is not it, but it is very good and very close. My mom put cream in hers and Wesley doesn't like the cream part so I left it out and it didn't matter, it was still a great soup, if you like tomato soup. The trick is, the tomatoes have to be good. Ours are very good!


 This coronavirus has been a terrible thing, it is a terrible thing. But I must say, it has given me precious time that I am very grateful for. Time to slow down, time to do things I never took time to do before, I get to spend more time with Wesley instead of her moving to Charlotte. We have the best garden we have ever had. I finally learned to can food properly, I can bake insane bread, and now I can bake Mrs. Dukes pound cake!

The three of us have dinner together every night, something that has not happened since Gerry and I met in 1980. We all have had crazy schedules and have worked around it for years. Now its almost normal around here.... almost. Gerry still missed Father's Day for a golf tournament assignment.

I don't know what life is going to be like on the other side of this thing, but life right now is calm and quiet and we are all learning new things and life is slow. The pantry is full of pickled cucumbers, beans of all sorts, carrots, vegetable soup, salsas, tomatoes, jellies and more.

I just stand there sometimes and stare at all the jars. They are so pretty and it has been so much fun producing all of that food, and eating it! We have to make more banana pepper jelly, I can tell already it will not last long, it is that good. Sean Brock's recipe for bread and butter pickles are quickly disappearing and the pickled okra is amazing. The garden is waning and there won't be much more to can, except tomatoes and peppers for freezing, but we have a lot. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts....

Why I waited so long to do this, I do not know. Except I was working, traveling, being a mom, being an artist, being an AP photographer's wife, etc. There was just never time for everything. Now, there is time for lots of  things. But mostly, it seems, time for eating!


Laurie said...

That's awesome you recreated a childhood memory. Good for you for trying the recipe again. Thanks for sharing the tomato soup recipe. I like cream in mine too, and will try it, once I'm satisfied I have enough canned. So many blessings coming out of this time. I'm thankful every day.


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