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.
Michelle GentnerMarch 13, 2019 at 9:58 pm
Brenda, you are SOOO amazing!! Now you’ve got me wanting pound cake…and yes, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I need a cake tomorrow for a friends birthday. Guess what I am making…??
Love you BUNCHES!!! xo
Deena NicholsonMarch 8, 2019 at 7:18 pm
This really makes me want to bake. I am not a good baker , I might just try it !!! ( one day)
Brenda McDearmonMarch 10, 2019 at 11:57 pm
Hi, Deena – you might just have some new baking inspiration after you make this pound cake! 🙂
Donna Laminack MillerMarch 8, 2019 at 1:18 pm
My baby sister Stacie makes a beautiful pound cake with a side dish of a strawberry pudding type dish – wonderful memories of many family gatherings! (Added to my post) I was inspired to make Mrs. Mason’s pound cake as a surprise for my husband. He was at Wok cooking class in Austin with 2 of his yoga friends (brogas) – my Valentine’s present to him!He loved it – the pound cake & the class!!
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 12:18 am
Wow, Donna! I’m so glad you were inspired and even more glad that your husband liked his pound cake! Thanks so much for sharing.
Debbie MaquetMarch 8, 2019 at 1:05 pm
Pound cake — a favorite — I always loved making a cinnamon swirl pound cake. Unfortunately, I haven’t baked in a while. Would love to share a slice with friends.
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 12:20 am
Hi, Debbie! Cinnamon swirl pound cake sounds delish! Are you still in your cooking group? Maybe you could sign up for dessert next time? Well, when I come back to Austin, I’ll bring one, and we can gather some friends to share it!
Ginna CarrollMarch 7, 2019 at 10:34 pm
I LOVE pound cake! Cannot wait to try this one.
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 12:21 am
Hey, friend! You and me, both. Thanks so much for reading!
Caron BabcockMarch 7, 2019 at 9:59 pm
Pound cake, strawberries and real whipping cream always mean that summer is coming! Wonderful memories of also having pound cake for breakfast- is it any wonder I am a sweetaholic??
My Mom was a great cook and lover of sweets! I’m just a great lover of sweets!!
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 12:40 am
Oh, could there be anything more wonderful than pound cake for breakfast? Love you, Caron!
Mary Anne MacMorranMarch 7, 2019 at 7:17 pm
I have childhood memories of pound cakes that go waaaaay back! This is such a basic dessert that seems to have been forgotten over the years. I’m so glad it was the highlight of this post which was a delight to read, in spite of its set-backs. I wish smooth blogging in the future! Mary Anne
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 11:53 am
Thank you for sharing, Mary Anne. It’s true. Pound cake is so classic and such a part of our growing up. Nothing smells better coming out of the oven than pound cake, right? I look forward to every one of your blog posts, too, my friend. (Follow Mary Anne @texasfoodheritage for recipes and the history behind all kinds of great Texas food!)
Elizabeth R WarrenMarch 7, 2019 at 2:34 pm
My grandmother made the best cakes, pies, cobblers – all without using recipes. She cooked by feel, and looks. I would love to have a slice of her pound cakes!
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 11:23 am
Hi, Elizabeth! I wish I could cook like your grandmother (and mine). I read somewhere that the first time you make a recipe you should do it strictly by the recipe. The second time, do it by memory. But the third time, you can make it your own. Maybe that was the key to your grandmother’s cobblers and cakes – she had made them so many times they had become her very own. Thanks for sharing!
Kae Rae Austin (Grammie Kae)March 7, 2019 at 2:32 pm
Pound Cake is my grandkids favorite. I always have a pound cake under my glass dome when they come. However, one time when Jackson was about 5, they surprised us one Saturday. Jackson was kinda pouting around and I said, “Hey Jackson, what’s wrong?’ He was coloring and without looking up he said, “you don’t have any of that white cake!” I said, “white cake?” He said, “yes, you always have white cake when we come!” I said, “well Jackson that is called pound cake and I will have one under the dome before you leave.” I tried to explain what a surprise it was that they came and why I didn’t have one, but he didn’t care about that. So, you can bet now I always have one in the dome when he comes or at least on in the freezer for when they surprise us again. That sad face made me know that it’s pretty importance that I do!
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 11:50 am
Well, if that’s not motivation to bake a cake, I don’t know what is. Thanks for sharing, Kae Rae. Really makes me smile. Keep those cakes under the dome for those grandkids, no matter what!
Christi RobertsMarch 7, 2019 at 2:21 pm
My sweet dear Momma LOVED Pound Cake almost as much as she LOVED making it ! She especially loved making new Pound Cake recipes. I couldn’t wait to make your favorite Pound Cake recipe for my sweet daddy! The look on his face was priceless when he took that first bite. We both agreed that my momma would have LOVED your prize winning Pound Cake!! Talk about DELICIOUS!
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 11:40 am
Oh, Christi, what a sweet comment. I know you guys miss your sweet Momma so much. Thank you for making Ms. Wanda’s recipe and for sharing about it. I wish I could have been there! Love to you and your dad today.
David WilsonMarch 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm
Texas Over Fifty
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 11:37 am
Hi, David! Thanks for reading.
TammyMarch 7, 2019 at 2:10 pm
Pound cakes bring up great memories for me, too. They meant that we were having a youth group party, a church pot luck, or that family was coming in town to stay with us! It also meant that I got to lick the measuring cup that my mom used to make the glaze! I still make them quite often (lemon is my fave)! Thanks for sharing!
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 11:48 am
Tammy, let’s have pound cake together next time we’re in Houston. Thanks so much for sharing these memories. I bet a lemon pound cake flavored with fresh juice from your dad’s lemon crop would be amazing! Love you bunches.
Cindy BarrettMarch 7, 2019 at 2:05 pm
I am happy to have had a Mason girl in my life too!!! Lots of great memories. Wonderful post Brenda ♥️
Brenda McDearmonMarch 11, 2019 at 11:26 am
Thanks, Cindy. I bet you’ve had a slice or two of Ms. Wanda’s prize-winner, too. Thanks for sharing!