Pound cake is confectionery perfection. A slight exaggeration? I think not! What isn’t beautiful about a dense, moist, buttery cake? The amount of butter and eggs might frighten the weak, but you’re strong. I know when you take that first bit you’re going to forget all about the numbers and just be transcended into pound cake nirvana.
The pound cake recipe actually comes from my Grandma Crawford. Back in the day, my Grandma Crawford was known around her church and neighborhood for her baked goods, especially her pound cakes. My father tells as a kid growing up of friends and family coming to door with ingredients in hand, asking Grandma Crawford to make one of her pound cakes. And of course in true Crawford fashion, she did. For this particular recipe, I adapted her Butternut Pound Cake, which happens to be my mother’s favorite cake. I’ve made another one of my Grandma’s beloved pound cakes before, her Cinnamon-Apple Pound Cake, which happens to be my favorite cake. Both are indescribably good for their own reasons.
The original recipe is found in an old spiral notebook, handwritten by my mother. The pages are worn and the writing is slowly beginning to fade, but I knew I wanted to use Grandma Crawford’s recipe. This cake bakes beautifully, forming a perfectly golden crust on the outside and a soft yellow inside. With summer upon us, I wanted to take apart in this season’s strawberry harvest. The tartness of the strawberries complimented the sweetened cream and the rich pound cake beautifully. I decided to serve these parfaits in mini trifle bowls that belonged to my Grandma Crawford (to keep in theme!) Grandma Crawford unfortunately passed away when I was fairly little, but if she was here today, I know we would talk sweets and bake delicious pound cakes together! Maybe even a parfait or two.
For the Pound Cake:
½ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butternut flavoring or vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Soda
For the whipped cream:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
3 cups of sliced strawberries
Step 1. For the pound cake. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, Grease and flour a 15-cup bunt pan. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter and shortening until combined. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.
Note: For room temperature eggs quickly, add them to a 4 cup liquid measuring cup and fill with lukewarm water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2. In a 1 cup liquid measuring cup, combine the evaporated milk and butternut flavoring or vanilla extract. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In thirds, alternate adding the flour mixture and evaporated milk mixture to the butter and egg mixture, making sure to end with the flour. Transfer batter to the greased and flour pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and let cool completely.
Step 3. For the whipped cream. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Doing this will allow the cream to stay cold and create stiff peaks quicker. Place the sugar into a mixing bowl and add the heavy cream. With a hand mixer or metal whisk, whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add the vanilla extract in one tablespoon increments until desired taste is reached. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, whisk for 10 to 15 seconds to reincorporate the air back into the cream.
Step 4. For assembly. Slice the pound cake into cubes, about the size of a nickel. In a parfait glass or trifle bowl, start with the cubed pound cake and layer it with strawberries and whipped cream, repeat this process until you reach the top of your glass. Serve immediately.