Monday, February 21, 2011

Sour cream & honey pound cake

I thought long and hard whether I should post this recipe or not and decided I would, because the end result was worth it. Or rather, because I wanted to let you decide whether you thought it was worth it.

Personally, I should have known from the start that this wasn't going in the right direction.

It all started when I dropped by my local supermarket the other day and discovered they carried sour cream! That may not be a big deal for most of you but it was a huge thing for me. Sour cream is almost impossible to get here. Sure, they sell it in a couple of specialty stores and in a healthfood chain here in Milan, but it isn't the kind of ingredient you can count on, that you can plan a meal around. Basically, if in the past I just happened to be in the area of that specific store and they happened to have sour cream that day and the alignment of stars and planets was just so, then lucky me. And I am aware that there are about 100 ways to substitute sour cream in a recipe but hey, sometimes a girl just wants sour cream! So, yes,  I was excited and immediately bought some.

Cut to the next day. The baby sitter called me in the office to tell me she also had the flu, like my son, so I had to rush home to take over from baby sitter number one. Not much time to find a recipe for my precious tub of sour cream. I quickly googled and the first thing that came up was a sour cream pound cake recipe which I printed before biking home whilst changing into my Florence Nightingale uniform.

Pound cake is sort of boring if you ask me, one of those cakes I don't think of making too often but that always turns out to be just right for week end family breakfasts. Also, I was intrigued by the addition of honey.

I set off to work and immediately got frustrated. The amounts seemed exaggerated...why would any cake need so much sugar and honey? Six eggs? 

As I proceeded, my annoyance grew. To me, pound cake equals quick and easy. Not that is was complicated, but it just seemed like there were an awful lot of specific steps to take for such a plain jane. Hmph!

Then I realized I had once again forgotten to buy a Turks' head mold or similar, so I had to make do with my invention of a little while back. In went the humungous amount of batter...silly me, I should have known. I put it into the oven to bake and got distracted by other things until I turned and noticed the batter had just started puffing up and pouring out all over the oven like The Blob. Thereafter, I had to constantly take out the stuff dripping onto the baking tray beneath before it burnt. My daughter was watching and decided she wanted to taste the gooey, caramelized lumps of almost cooked through batter. We tasted it and boy was that chewy, warm, sugary mess good. I had hope yet.

I decided I would let it bake less, since at least half of the content had dripped from the pan, but it kept looking undercooked. I waited and waited until the original baking time had come and gone. I decided to pull it out and noticed that the weirdest thing: three quarters of the cake had baked perfectly and one quarter of the ring had remained half raw. How did that happen? At this point I was so angry about the cake, the waste and the thought of having to scrub every inch of my oven that I just set it aside to cool and then chopped of the raw part.

All of this to say that despite the initial doubts, the irritation and the baking disaster, this turned out to be a pretty tasty cake, with a certain depth added by the honey. It was dense yet moist and light. So, despite my ranting and raving, if you are a pound cake kinda person, this is a pretty darn good recipe. And there is no need to explain why there is not a picture of the whole cake.


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I used 3 cups of this and no cake flour) 
1 ½ cups sifted cake flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 3/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 325ºF and grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt or 10-inch tube baking pan or a Turk's head mold. Sift together the flours, baking soda and salt. Sift again and set aside. Combine the sour cream, vanilla extract and honey in a small bowla nd set this aside too.
Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 10 minutes or until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and then reduce the mixer speed to low before you start to add the flour mixture by thirds, alternating it with the sour cream mixture and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just enough to blend the batter after each addition. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan, then remove from the pan and place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.

Note to self: halve the ingredients next time. Despite my runaway batter, the cake was pretty big.

Adapted from Sweet Kats Kitchen


  1. Your pound cake sounds really scrumptious! I never make it myself, for much the same reason as you--overflow problems. I tried this pumpkin quick bread last year that overflowed just as you describe. The middle never cooked but the edges were really tasty!

    Anyway about pound cake--I used to go to this wonderful tiny restaurant when I was a kid in the 1970s in a small town in Massachusetts. The place was called Newton's. I still remember it well. They served this dessert called the "Old fashioned pound cake sundae." They took a large slab of pound cake which they buttered then toasted slightly, scooped a huge amount of vanilla ice cream over top then hot fudge, walnuts and a maraschino cherry. Wonderful!

  2. Mmm, that sounds like a delicious flavor for a pound cake and I bet the sour cream makes it nice and moist. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog until 6PM PST tonight and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your cake up.

  3. This made me laugh - we have all so been there and to say otherwise would be lying! Happy you stuck with it and that what you did salvage was delicious! :)

  4. I love your profile, and I identify with your love of family and food. I am a pound cake lover, but I've never tried that flavor combination. I will give it a try this week. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love pound cake but agree there is an art to making it; my grandmother showed me how years ago when she would incorporate the eggs ever so slowly. The sour cream that you used will surely give a tender crumb to the pound cake and the honey wonderful fragrance.

  6. Stevie - Hi! I guess I was lucky that 3/4 came out perfectly cooked, although I still haven't figured out the dynamics. And I love your childhood memories, bring 'em on!
    Lisa - Hey Lisa, thanks for inviting me, unfortunately I saw your comment too late. Probably for the best, this way I can participate with a recipe that has turned out more successfully.
    DD&W - It is all a part of the process!
    Sheryl - Let me know how it works for you. It really was good, worth trying again.
    ToB - your grandmother was absolutely right. This recipe also insisted on adding the eggs one by one and working them well into the batter.

  7. Oh that's one of the worst things when the cooking time comes and goes. Or if you think it's done only to find the centre uncooked and then sunken. But I'm glad to hear that it was delicious in the end!

  8. My mom was always a fan of the Sara Lee poundcakes growing up, we never really thought to make our own. This definitely sounds like a great version with the honey added, so I'm really glad you posted this!

  9. Amo il tocco della panna acida nei dolci... questo cake lo segno! favoloso!


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