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Recipe from BON APPÉTIT, Y’ALL
by Virginia Willis (Ten Speed Press, $32.50/HC, May 2008)
Our fellowship starts days before as we share the shopping and chopping. The baking commences early in the week, and the cakes and pies are held captive in various collections of Tupperware. The buttery smells of the cakes coming out of their pans is intoxicating. Whoever is hosting the dinner calls everyone and assigns a dish, often something on the sweet side. Our family holidays would not be complete without Meme’s pound cake. The best part is the crispy, dark-brown sugary edges. Much to my mother’s consternation, more than once, little pesky elves raided the opaque Tupperware cake container and nibbled away those tasty bits.
Makes one 10-inch cake


• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
• 3 cups White Lily flour or other Southern all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, preferably Crisco, at room temperature
• 3 cups sugar

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Generously grease a 16-cup (measure to the rim) Bundt pan with butter. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, eggs, and the scraped vanilla seeds. Set aside.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the 1 cup of butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour and milk mixtures to the butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating between dry and liquid, occasionally scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fill the prepared pan with batter (it should be no more than two-thirds full).

Bake for 15 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 325°F and bake an additional 45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

This cake will stay moist in an airtight container for up to 1 week.   


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