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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Cooking with Chef Jo: Grandma's Infamous Cherry Topped Lemon Pound Cake

In a couple of days it will be my grandmother's birthday, if she were still with us. But it's still a red letter day because it's my niece's birthday, and my sister and her husband's wedding anniversary also. Talk about everything piling up on one day! It's funny how a date can have so many different meaning to so many people. But, with a family the size of mine, it's bound to happen.

My grandma was infamous for her angel food and pound cakes. In the tiny Nebraska town which she lived in, she was the go-to for these cakes. So I thought I would share her pound cake recipe with y'all.  Let's face it angel food cakes coming out perfect depends a lot on the humidity in the air. I live in northeast corner of the Georgia. Rarely does the humidity get below 75% except with the wood stove blaring. It's chilly here but not near cold enough to burn off our high humidity.

I might have mentioned a time or two that my grandfather planted a cherry tree on their property for each one of his twelve children. There was a huge harvest of cherries each year by the time I came around. My grandmother did everything cherry, rhubarb, or apple. The family also had a forty-acre apple orchard, and my grandmother loved rhubarb. (Rhubarb, yuck! 😖) So needless to say most of her recipes requiring fruit had one of these fruits in it.

Do you know why it's named pound cake? It takes a pound by weight of the main ingredients: a pound each of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs. I later found out that grandma's infamous pound cake was a slight variation (with what she had available) of the Ritz-Carlton Lemon Pound Cake recipe published in 1920 that's why I call it infamous. To be fancy, I made them in mini Bunt pans because a whole cake would mold before the two of us could eat it all. So I make it, and freeze the extra cakes until I need them.

My Grandmother's Lemon Pound Cake with Cherries
Serves 8-12

What you'll need

3 1/2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups sugar
2 cups or 4 sticks butter, softened
6 eggs
                                                          1 cup buttermilk
                                                          1 tsp vanilla extract
                                                          1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
                                                          Zest of two large lemon

                                                         1 lb cherries, pitted*
                                                         1 cup powdered sugar
                                                         1 cup water*

Note- *You can use fresh, frozen or canned cherries. Since I can mu home grown cherries, just like grandma did, I grab two pint jars from the pantry. I use the liquid in the jars to replace the water in the glaze.

Putting it all together
  • Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.*
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
  • Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each addition before adding the next.
  • Mix lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest into the milk. This will result into a clambered buttermilk almost like thin yogurt.*
  • In alternating fashion, add 1/3 flour mixture and milk. 
  • Mix until well combined.
  • Pour batter into well buttered and floured Bundt pan(s) or angel food cake pan.
  • Thump bottom of the pan to release any air bubbles from the bottom.
  • Bake 350 degree oven for 50- 70 minutes (depends on your oven)
  • When done, toothpick comes out clean, sit on the counter for an hour, and then invert to release cake from pan. Let cake cool completely.
  • To make cherry sauce, place cherries and water in a saucepan. 
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Add powdered sugar. To prevent lumps, sift the powdered sugar into the cherries while stirring.
  • Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, or until you reach the desired thickness.
  • Let cool to room temperature. Pour over pound cake for service.

Notes- * You often see the term "cream" butter or shortening with sugar together in recipes.

You ever wonder what it meant? It means to whip the fat and sugar together until you no longer feel the sugar crystals. The consistency is light, pale and airy.
*My grandmother always used buttermilk when baking except for angel food cake. It gave all her baked goods extra rise and by using the thicker consistency milk, it turned out moister.

There you have it, my grandma's infamous Cherry topped lemon pound cake. I hope you enjoy her recipe for as many years  as I have.

Around the homestead- I'm watching Mel sorting out the workshop. When she ventures out, walking towards the house... Her feet are surrounded by chickens all saying, "Whatcha got for me? Huh, huh?" as she trots towards the house making footsteps precarious. Her cat, Whirling Dervish, chases her on her short legs meowing all the way. She is chased by the dogs with their tongues hanging out.  They do this each and every time she steps out of the shop. " The "Farmer in the Dell" plays loudly in my head as I watch this scenario play out. Such is homesteading.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Chef Jo


  1. Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. My dad loves rhubarb and I tried to grow some several years ago thinking it I might grow in to it. But it didn't like where I tried to grow it.

    I wish Dan liked lemon and cherries. I'd try this if he did. Can't imagine eating a whole cake by myself!

    1. Leigh, you can substitute any fruit. This was just the way my grandma made it. Lord, the calories you'd pack on if you ate the whole thing by yourself! giggling

  3. Hi Jo :) That's neat about the pound cake, I didn't know why it was called that! I love the recipe thanks so much for sharing. I haven't had a good pound cake in years, and I will try your grandma's out one of these days. Oh I agree, rhubarb yuck! :) By the way this is just for you: https://youtu.be/vNuVifA7DSU?t=62 :D

    1. OMG Rain! You didn't do that to me! You're positively evil. LOL What a response to my comment to your recent blog. Nobody does it better than Bobby Pickett.


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