In my family we don’t generally make to much of a difference as to bloodline, we’re all related. However, because this recipe came to me by a reader who is also my sister-in-law’s cousin and it’s a family recipe I thought I’d bring that up. I do wish I’d gotten to know Aint Yetty because this is an awesome recipe. This is really an old fashioned bare bones pound cake. No leavening, no liquid and it’s way heavy on the butter. The recipe also uses powdered sugar (and lots of it) rather than granulated which lightens it up a bit. The texture is very smooth and with all the butter it wasn’t greasy or heavy. It has that smooth melt in your mouth feel of pound cake. No fuss and no muss. What worried me initially and then surprised me later was the amount of salt and how it wasn’t overpowering. My salt-ometer is super high and I’d rather err on the side of less rather than more when it comes to salt. Since this recipe dates back at least 50 years I don’t think the sweet/salty perfect marriage was all the rage then.
One thing I’ve found with most every pound cake I’ve made is that the top which becomes the bottom is always kind of crackly and more cookie like. This doesn’t affect the taste at all, but it makes for some pretty shaky slicing. I’ll look that up in my troubleshooting guide, unless anyone out there can drop me a line and save me the search. Please and thank you. The only thing I did change as the recipe suggested was the flavoring. Instead of 2 TBS of lemon, I used only one, and one of my go-to vanilla paste. I love that stuff. Thanks again Bridget from Bake at 350 for that helpful hint.
AINT YETTY’S POUND CAKE
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar, according to my charts this is 4 ½ cups
4 sticks (1 lb) butter, softened
2 Tbsp pure lemon extract (or any flavor desired)
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour 10” tube or Bundt pan. I went so many years rushing through all my recipes, now I sift my powdered sugar as well as the flour. It does make for a smoother batter, and a messier kitchen. HA! In large bowl, cream butter. Add sugar gradually. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix flour and salt together. Gradually add flour/salt mixture, beating well after each addition. Add flavors. Beat about two minutes, then pour into pan. I beat it four about 5. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand in pan for ten minutes, then gently shake loose and remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing.
My first inclination was just to leave it plain. When I started taking pictures it looked rather dull, so I made a very thin glaze of powdered sugar, lemon flavor and water. Use whatever one is your fave. This cake is so adaptable most anything can be paired with it. Can you stand more of the trials and tribulations of a former overweight, depressed, kind of kooky woman who has turned her life around? I hope so, cause I’m not done yet.
In the summer of 2002 my demons were hanging on tighter than the cellulite on my thighs. My internal turmoil was bubbling right beneath the surface searching for a way out. What happened next was foolish, scary and downright dangerous. Sitting at the dressing table one day curling my hair and crying, the desire to burn myself was overwhelming. Without much thought I lowered the smoking hot curling iron to my thigh. At that moment, I was sane enough to know that I must have been losing my mind. Never in a trillion years did I think that my mental and emotional state would sink this low. It hurt like the dickens but then again it didn’t. What I was feeling inside was so painful that I wanted pain on the outside to match it. I was careful to burn high enough on my thigh so the burns wouldn’t be visible. The burning continued for about two weeks as I sank deeper into an emotional void. Soon that wasn’t enough, and I progressed to cutting, using my husband’s discarded razor blades to do my damage. Never large cuts, and again never in a visible area, but cuts nonetheless.
After a couple of weeks, something that resembled sanity resurfaced and I confessed to my therapist about the mutilation. I voluntarily checked into White Pine Medical. I was on my way to the psych ward where all the leave and trees are green and we’re happy all the time. That was my wake-up call. The section of the ward that I was assigned to housed patients with only mild disturbances, what I would have envisioned a minimum-security prison to be. We were allowed to go outside for fresh air, supervised of course, and could spend as much time in the day room as we wanted. The day room was furnished with a rickety television, piano, several shelves of outdated books, plus puzzles and board games that reeked of mildew. It also doubled as the dining room. To my surprise the food wasn’t half-bad and you could order double portions of whatever you liked. Just what I didn’t need. Family and friends were allowed daily visits and were allowed to bring in special treats. At my request I had, a stash of M&M’s with peanuts; kept under lock and key by the staff but only a request away.
Group therapy was a requirement. During these sessions I spoke out often, many times leading the discussions, since no one else seemed to have anything to say. Part of patient recovery was also structured activity. A therapist facilitated arts and crafts sessions, not my strong suit. I did manage to paint a plate that I still have as a reminder of where I never intend to be again. As with the group therapy, I attempted to be helpful and encouraging. I was after time off for good behavior.
Being on the tamer side of the facility was not without its colorful characters. From all nightwalkers, babblers, kleptomaniacs, and a very friendly woman who showed me how she removed staples from magazines and slashed her arms. It was in my best interest not to spend too much time with her, and to do whatever it took to get out of there. Each morning I put in a call for a one on one meeting with the psychiatrist that was assigned to my case. After what seemed like an eternity, I got it. If ever there was a time for clear thinking this was it. My assertiveness in group therapy and my all around responsible attitude allowed me to leave White Pine Medical after one week.
Despite the fact that I had pulled it together, enough to leave the hospital, my demons still haunted me. Bouts of depression and full-blown panic attacks were still a way of life. With the constant barrage of mental and emotional junk challenging my well-being I barely paid attention to my physical health. As if on command, chronic pain entered my life. Try as I might I could no longer ignore it. Suffering in silence is not part of my makeup. Successive visits to the doctor ended in frustration and still without a clue about what was wrong. Repeatedly I heard “you’re just under stress”, or when the new physician found out about the depression I was told, “It’s all in your head”. Eventually I located someone who took the time to listen, do an examination, and give a name to what overwhelmed me. That name was, Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain and fatigue disease, to which there is no cure, and one that is not always taken seriously. The combination of pain and exhaustion left me too tired to do anything that could remotely be classified as exercise.
2003 dawned with a change in the type and intensity of pain I had been experiencing. Sharp, white-hot, stabbing pains shot through my joints. That curling iron and razor blade stuff was child’s play compared to this. It was back to the physician merry-go-round once again. At long last, a family doctor who had no problem referring me to a specialist. My first visit with a rheumatologist ended in disaster. Caught in the grips of back and hip pain, walking was difficult. Each step harder than the first. My hands felt knotted and swollen. This man listened to my laundry list of complaints, examined my knees, squeezed my hands, looked me squarely in the eyes, and laughed. How humiliating! He laughed and told me all I had to do was lose weight and I’d be fine. I knew from my fitness background that the excess weight was not good for my joints, but come on, this guy had the absolute worse bedside manner. Never again would I set foot in his office again.
Promptly I called my physician, explained how rudely I had been treated, and asked to see someone else. Being a gracious person, he sent me to a different specialist. This time there were blood tests, multiple sets of x-rays, and a complete physical examination. The results that came back weren’t the best, but again at least I knew what was going on. Add rheumatoid and osteoarthritis to my ever growing list of ailments. I was falling apart at the seams. After multiple visits to various doctors I settled into my routine of pain, bingeing and just being downright miserable. My home life was extremely unsettling and it was beginning to be too much to bear. This is about the time when the Iraq invasion began, and Casey was off to war. This is when my New You Revolution began.
Again, I apologize for the flip flop in the story but if I’m going to tell it I might as well tell it all. Which means I should lay it all out there and tell you what really happened after my experience with CNN. Shiver me timbers!