Sara Lee pound cake was pretty much a staple in my freezer growing up. It was what my mother would serve guests and a great breakfast treat when we were feeling especially decadent (or more likely, when my mom was feeling particularly averse to preparing breakfast, because what child doesn’t want to eat any kind of cake for breakfast?
One of my pet peeves in the food blogging world (I know, this is a happy place, but sometimes I really can’t resist some cheese with my whine)…is the constant belittling of any food item that isn’t 100% from scratch homemade. The same cooks who were once horrified by the idea of using processed cheese, today get paid to use the same product to make bacon cheddar honey mustard monkey bread grilled cheese sandwiches that will go viral on Pinterest.
Before I paint myself as a big fat hypocrite, here is what I think about homemade, scratch cooking and baking: it’s glorious, when you have time to do it. Time is a luxury we don’t all have, especially when we’re away from home for 9-10 hours a day at our j-o-b.
Maybe if you live on a farm, you’re churning your own butter, baking your own bread, or milking your own cows, then I will stand corrected. Otherwise, yes, processed food actually does have a place in our diet, even if it isn’t everyday.
Yes, when I first learned how to cook from scratch I was pretty enthralled at how delicious homemade brownies, baked beans, pesto sauce or mashed potatoes could be if you made them yourself instead of opening up a box or can, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s the only way.
Sometimes the jar of pesto sauce is just as good, if not better, than the homemade pesto sauce you totally destroyed because you were rushing, not paying attention, and dosed with so much garlic that you can’t take a bite without dying a little inside.
Even though I like eating organic produce and free range chicken, I also like eating bar nachos and french fries and chicken fingers that honestly, may not even be real chicken and I kind of don’t care. I eat deli meat and sometimes when I’m eating low carb I buy meal replacement bars with ingredients I can’t pronounce.
What I like to do whether I’m entertaining, cooking for the boyfriend or just making myself a special meal: make one recipe from scratch and do the rest however is most convenient. If I’m making jambalaya as a main course, I’ll make it from scratch, but I’ll probably make cornbread from a box to serve alongside it. If I’m grilling prepared burgers from the deli section of the grocery store, I’ll make my own bacon potato salad and cranberry almond coleslaw.
Sometimes when I’m entertaining for brunch, I’ll opt for the fancy homemade egg dish, and get bagels, lox and a trusty Sara Lee pound cake to round out the meal. Other times, I scramble a few eggs low and slow, bake a tray of bacon in the oven and serve a from-scratch pastry, like muffins, coffee cake or a vanilla pound cake that freezes perfectly — if you manage to walk away with leftovers.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 6-cup (8½-by-4½-inch) loaf pan; set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, beating just until combined (careful not to over mix).
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour (tent with aluminum foil if browning too quickly). Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack, and turn upright to cool completely.