My mother has lately taken to saying “I don’t cook anymore” and “I don’t bake like you do.” I beg to differ. I would not love cooking and baking the way I do if my mother hadn’t set the example, and this cake is the perfect illustration of the sort of thing she does INCREDIBLY well. A few years ago she and one of her good friends made something like 60 of these for a church banquet. This cake is really lovely. It will make you forget every weirdly greasy/sugary/crumbly/gummy store-bought pound cake you ever had. Add an accompaniment of your choosing: a small scoop of ice cream or sorbet, a drizzle of raspberry sauce, a side of fresh summer berries, a puddle of hot fudge sauce (may I recommend this, from the incomparably awesome Deb?), and everyone will love you forever.
1 recipe fills either a large tube or Bundt pan (my preference) or 3 8” loaf pans. Originally from the Roanoke Newspaper in 1984 (year I was born! Coincidences: They Are Magic).
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour – sift 3 times (yeah, do this. I’m super lazy and almost never sift, but here Mom and I both cheat and sift the flour into a bowl, then just kind of re-dip the sifter a few times and call it a day. Do your best. It does make a difference).
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 cups granulated sugar – sift 2 times (yep. do this too)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter- at room temperature
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup whole milk or cream (I’ve also used half-and-half. The higher your fat content, the more tender and moist your cake. This is a pound cake– why make it anything other than what it wants to be, i.e. terrible for you in its DELICIOUSNESS)
½ tsp nutmeg
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease your cake pan(s). If using loaf pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Sift flour 3 times. Measure 3 cups of the sifted flour into a bowl, add baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
(Okay, sorry, interrupting. You know how to measure dry ingredients, right? Of course you do, just like you know how to find your bra size, so my entire internet existence thus far is redundant! Ahem. So, the baking gods say that you need to weigh your dry ingredients for accuracy, because measuring by volume with stuff like sugar and flour can be woefully inaccurate and inconsistent. The baking gods are so right, but my batteries always die in my digital scale and of course I never replace them or feel like buying a nicer scale. So I measure. You want to use the stacking measuring cups with the handles, not the glass ones with a pouring spout (yes, you’ll make a mess. Deal. You’re a damned domestic goddess, creating order out of chaos. This is the chaos part). NEVER plunge a measuring cup into a bag of flour and scoop it out. You’ll cram way too much flour in there, in some cases nearly doubling the quantity called for, and your baked goods will be dry and tough, especially your lovely cakes and biscuits, and it will be sad. To measure flour or granulated and confectioner’s sugar (brown sugar is different, and most recipes will tell you “lightly packed” or “firmly packed” to indicate how to measure), dip a spoon into the container and add the flour to the measuring cup spoonful by spoonful. Once you have a lovely towering soft mound of flour in the measuring cup, use the blade of a knife to gently level off the surface. Voila! You can measure stuff, and you’re awesome.)
Sift sugar 2 times. Measure 2 cups of the sifted sugar into a bowl or onto a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter and shortening for two minutes on medium speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a spatula. Add the sifted sugar slowly on low speed. Once all sugar is added, beat on medium speed for two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, then beat on medium-high speed for three more minutes. The mixture should look like very dense pastry cream.
Add eggs, then vanilla, almond extract and nutmeg. Beat for 1-2 additional minutes.
With mixer on low speed, add flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour (three additions of flour, two of milk).
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 to 1 ½ hours for a tube or Bundt pan (sorry for vagueness, but ovens differ widely. Both Mom’s and my ovens are temperamental, so I start checking it at 1 hour, and it’s usually done in about an hour and ten minutes. A skewer will come out with a few moist crumbs attached– you do NOT want to overbake this guy). For loaf pans, start checking around 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto cake plat or cooling rack and allowing to cool completely.