National Pound Cake Day? Hey, I’ll bite.
Have you ever seen a hypnotist in action?
Well, you know how it goes. He gets a willing audience into a hypnotic state that looks like some kind of deep sleep, then he deliberately and methodically instructs them exactly how they are to react when they awake.
Example: When you wake up and hear the word “dog” you’ll bark.
Pound Cake Has a Hypnotic Hold on Me
Whenever I hear the words pound cake, I feel as though I must have been hypnotized to react in the same way every single time.
My eyes bug out and dart to and fro, as if trying to find exactly where someone has laid it.
Then, my mouth starts to water, and I’m pretty certain I can almost taste the first sweet bite.
But the worst thing is, I can hardly think of anything else until I get some.
It’s an Associative Memory
Teachers have known for a long time the power of associative memory. That’s because our brains have the marvelous capability of associating even one aroma with a whole host of details.
Such is the case with Wanda Mason’s Prize-Winning Pound Cake.
Goodnight Trail vs. Harmony Street
My parents divorced when I was eight years old, and that’s when we moved to Amarillo, lived with my grandparents and started going to First Baptist Church.
I made a good friend in Sunday School who invited me to spend lots of weekend nights at her house. It was a grand experience every time. My friend was one of 5 kids who were always playing pranks, listening to music, and living life with joy, joy, joy, joy, down in their hearts.
Don’t get me wrong. My mom and stepdad did a great job of raising their own brood of five, and we managed to have a great deal of fun in the process. But combining two families into one under the same roof was way harder than the Brady Bunch made it appear to be.
My family lived out on Goodnight Trail where the lots were big and people could spread out a little, which turned out to be a little bit symbolic, because I think my parents were constantly scratching their heads asking, “Good night! How much harder can this blended family thing get?”
And then telling us to spread out.
My friend’s family was cut from another kind of 70’s gabardine, which always made it look to me like the Mason ship was one that sailed smoothly, under any kind of weather and through every kind of storm.
Among many other easy-going qualities, these were people in whose genetic pool lived the most inviting style of hearty, contagious laughter. Therefore, you simply couldn’t be moody around the Masons, who lived at 3205 Harmony Street. (Really. Harmony Street.)
Besides all that, Wanda made a mean pound cake that lived up to its name on page 362 of the church cookbook.
Pound Cake Makes Me Feel More Than Hungry
Sure, I might get a tiny hunger pang when I hear (or read) the words pound cake today. But what mostly happens is a much more emotional response, and I feel a lot more than hungry.
What actually washes over me every single time is a sudden, intense and beautiful memory of a cake on a counter and a grade-school girl who felt warm, loved, accepted and encouraged.
So, yeah. I’m definitely celebrating National Pound Cake Day.
You’re Getting Verrrrrry Sleepy
Now, close your eyes and don’t think about anything else. You are visualizing a beautiful glass pedestal atop your own granite kitchen counter, and when you wake up, you’ll head to the cabinet where your mixing bowls await.
When I snap my fingers here in Dallas, you will know exactly what you need to do, wherever you may be.
Now, wake up!
You’re about to make a prize-winning pound cake, my dear hypnotized friends.
Mrs. Mason’s Prize-Winning Pound Cake
- 2 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 sticks butter
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind and 1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 teaspoons almond extract and 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
Cream sugar and butter until color of cream; add eggs 1 at a time. Add baking powder, flour, and milk alternately. Flavor with grated lemon rin and lemon extract, or vanilla, almond, and butter flavoring. Put in well-greased and floured tube or Bundt pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown and pulls away from pan.
*Notes: I always use the almond extract and butter flavoring when I make this cake, because that’s my favorite, but the lemon is delicious as well. I also add the flavorings to the milk instead of adding them separately. Now that I have my mixer, I shorten the process a little by dumping the flour and baking powder in together, then slowly pouring in the milk/flavorings while the mixer does its job.
More Ways to Celebrate National Pound Cake Day
I’ve made Ms. Wanda’s prize-winning recipe so many times, I can almost do it in my sleep. It’s the best I’ve ever tasted, and I hope you like it, too.
However, if you want to do a taste test, here are a few others I bet could easily earn an honorable mention.
Ree Drummond claims a perfect pound cake results from her recipe that’s a lot like Ms. Wanda’s, but includes a can of soda.
At Fredericksburg Farms‘ website, you’ll find a recipe for pound cake with berries that looks delish, but this one for pound cake made with Fredericksburg peaches sounds absolutely Texas-terrific.
Lastly, if you’re the kind who would rather nix the mixing, or maybe you would like to send something delectable to a friend, check out these pound cakes shipped in decorative boxes from Janie’s in Tyler.
Aren’t they pretty?
Ok, that’s all for now.
I’ve been thinking about pound cake for several days now, and I just can’t wait any longer to bake my very own.
Encouraging a lifetime of everyday intentional adventure, topped off with a big slice of warm associative memory,