My great aunt used to make this cake EVERY Saturday, for Sunday dinner after church. My job was to crack the eggs and gather all the ingredients. She never formally taught me to bake or cook. Out of the blue one day, she asked if I was ready to make my first pound cake. I was shocked and said no, mainly because no one was allowed to cook in her kitchen. NO ONE!!!! She responded, "well, you been watching long enough. Ain't you learned it yet?" Guess what? I did what I had seen her do. Well almost. As I went to get the Sunbeam mixer that was unboxed but never used, she asked, "why you getting that thing." I said to mix the cake, to which she responded, "not today. If you gone know how to bake a cake, you best know how to beat the butter." She meant BY HAND! She meant creaming that butter and sugar together until they were as light as air. BY HAND! With a wooden spoon and a bowl. She meant holding that bowl as you added eggs and flour. She meant mixing an entire cake stirring with a spoon. Auntie asked what I would do if the mixer went out. How would I bake a cake or pie if I didn't have one of them fancy things? Halfway through all that creaming, I felt as if my arm was going to fall out of the socket. But when I had finished, and that cake was perfectly golden as I took it out of the oven, the smile on her face let me know I could conquer anything. In fact, I'll never forget her saying, "See, I knowed you could do it. You had to know." My beloved Auntie died at 87, with that sunbeam mixer still sitting atop the fridge, unused. Many life lessons were learned as I "watched" from the stool in her kitchen. I knew my pound cake was as good as hers because she began to say, "You know what, I believe I'm gone let you bake me a pound cake." That was greater than any reward I could ever receive. To this day, it is the most requested cake from friends and family. I always think of Auntie and smile, and then I give thanks for my stand mixer.
2. Beat 1 pound of softened butter and 3 cups of granulated sugar until light and fluffy (almost white).
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium until each is incorporated fully.
4. Add cake flour and sour cream alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat on medium until just incorporated. You don't want to overbeat it.
5. Add 1 tbl of good quality vanilla extract or 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste.
Put in cold oven. Bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes. NOTE: if the pan is dark, lower the temperature to 300. Test at the prescribed time. If needed, bake an additional 5 minutes.