I love Christmas cards. I love getting them in the mail, and I love taking them of my kids each year. I frame the old ones, and when I pull them out of the attic each year, they always make me smile.
I also love that as my kids grow, the photo-taking process is so much quicker. Of course, there are far fewer funny outtakes. I mean, yes, we probably have one of the dog licking one of the kids in the mouth. But lets be honest, she does that pretty much any time one of them lets his face get within licking range.
And so today, because pictures took less than ten minutes, when the big kid wanted to make poundcake, I put off grading papers one more time and played sous chef while he made his favorite pound cake.
This is adapted from Ina Garten, but also has twinges of my grandmother. It is simple and so very delicious.
- Baker’s Joy, Pam with Flour, or other nonstick spray
- 2 Tablespoons raw sugar (also sold as turbinado sugar)
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour*
- 1 cup heavy cream*
- Spray a large tube or bundt pan (or 2 loaf pans) with the cooking spray. Put the raw sugar in the pan and shake to coat.
- In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Beat until fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Add the salt, vanilla, and lemon zest. Beat well to combine.
- Alternately add the flour and the milk, beating to combine and scraping down the sides, ending with the flour. Do not overmix.
- Pour into the sugared cake pan.
- Bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Room temperature butter and eggs are essential to avoiding lumpy batter. I generally leave the butter on the counter overnight, but even an hour out of the refrigerator is generally enough. To bring your eggs to room temperature, you can put them in a cup of warm water for 5-10 minutes before you crack them.
- I am picky about my cake flour. I love White Lily All Purpose for cakes and cookies. It is made from a different type of wheat that is slightly lower in gluten, so it makes for a softer crumb. You can also buy actual cake flour (which is what the original recipe calls for) but I have better luck with White Lily for cakes.
- Not wanting to use heavy cream? Half and half or whole milk will both work well here.
(Oh, and here is what is probably my favorite Christmas card outtake over the years… my poor children and the torture they endure! At least they didn’t have to wear anything smocked this year!)