Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our Daily Bread: Sour Cream Pound Cake

The fourth Sunday in Lent, or Mid-Lent, has many different names. It’s liturgical name is “Laetate” or “Rejoice” Sunday, from the first words of the liturgy for that day: “Rejoice, O Jerusalem.”
The English name for this day is “Mothering Sunday.” This term arose from a custom connected with the ancient idea of the Church, “Jerusalem,” as our Mother. On this day, Christians have traditionally gone to the church in which they had been baptized and confirmed, to their Mother Church. And on this day it has also been a custom for people to visit their own mothers. You took your mother flowers and a cake, and asked for her maternal blessing. The cake was called a “Simnel,” from the fine-quality white flour (latin simila) with which it was made. This day was thus the original, the Christian, Mother’s Day!
(Text from A Continual Feast p. 184 which includes more information and a delicious recipe for Simnel Cake)

While a pound cake is in every way a cake and in no way a bread, it is still none the less baked in a loaf pan and too delicious not to include in one of our bread posts! It also happens to be a family favorite and it is the cake we traditionally bake to celebrate each person’s feast day. While the thought of my children presenting a delicious cake to me on Mothering Sunday is delightful, I also realistically know that it will be mother who bakes it! Perhaps this delight will be baked on Saturday night!

Sour Cream Pound Cake

½ cup butter
3 eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

1. Allow butter, eggs, and sour cream to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour an 8x4x2 inch or 9x5x3 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating about 10 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition and scraping bowl frequently. Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream to butter mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake in a 325° oven for 60-75 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool.

*This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens cook book.

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