Vintage Poundcake

Vintage Poundcake

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Mama Helen, my precious MIL and Ben’s mom, was a fabulous Southern woman and a  well-known and prolific home cook.  Over the years of being in the Phillips family with her and Daddy Howard, Ben’s Dad, I had many meals in her kitchens. The cabin, the Finley Park house, the condo, or the beach house.  Every place she hung her hat, there were several oiled and well-used cast iron skillets, spatulas, wooden spoons, pots and pans.  From stringy beef, cukes & buttermilk, tomato pie, and peach cobbler to cornbread and her famous home-canned green beans, Mama Helen’s meals were truly the kind you just wanted to sit and eat more and more and more.

Two of her dessert specialties that I especially love are her coconut cake and her pound cake   When she and Daddy Howard would come to visit us, she’d always ask what I wanted her to make, and the answer wasn’t hard. Your pound cake or your coconut cake.  When they pulled up in their wagon at our house, there’d always be both!  This vintage recipe is one that has a huge significance and history to it, for me. Where or how Mama Helen learned to make it, I don’t know, but her culinary talents and heritage live on through all of us Phillips’ girls who have a copy of her hand-written ‘cookbook’ where she describes the recipes as if she’s right there talking with you.  And, Mama Helen would not mind one iota that I ‘boho’d’ her original recipe just a tad by adding fresh lemon zest/juice and an extra teaspoon of vanilla.

Vintage Poundcake

Vintage Poundcake

Yield: One bundt cake pan


  • Oven temperature 350
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 16 Tbl. butter, salted and at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, solid, Crisco
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp.  vanilla
  • 2 tsp.  lemon extract
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 3 cups sifted flour, all-purpose
  • 1 Tbl. baking powder


  • Cream together the butter, Crisco and sugar.  Add one egg at a time and beat well.  Add vanilla and lemon extract to milk and blend slowly into the batter.  
  • Sift the flour and add one cup to the batter and beat well.  Add a second cup of sifted flour and beat well.  Add the baking powder to the last cup and sift again.  Add to batter and beat well.
  • Coat bundt pan well (Crisco preferred) and dust with flour.  Pour thick batter into pan.  Put in cold oven at 350 degrees and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes.  
  • Do the toothpick test.  Remove and let cool about 45 minutes.


I made the cake at high altitude (7k+) and preheated the oven to 350, baked for an hour, then reduced the temp to 325 for another 20-25 minutes.  If the top gets cover the top loosely with doubled foil to keep from getting the top too brown.

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Vintage Poundcake


  1. Oh Ally, I wrote that comment note on your fb page before reading this wonderful tribute to your MIL. What a precious gift of memories Mama Helen left the entire family, and now you share your memories with us – AND the pound cake recipe! It’s amazing that in our family – coconut or pound cake has always been a favorite. My mama made the absolute to die for coconut cake every Christmas (or any time we had out of town relatives) or take a big honking one to church outings, and it was the best ever. Pound cakes are my favorite and I collect ALL that I can. I now have a new wonderful story to share with others about your experience and a new recipe to add to my collection. Thanks a bunch, Dear One, and a special thanks to Mama Helen. <3

    • Mary~~all I can say is that I know Mama Helen is smiling from ear to ear, sipping her chardonnay, and saying in her Southern sweet drawl, ‘Now, hunnnnnneeeeeee, when you’ve beat that batter, beat it some more…beat beat beat!’ Thank you!!! I would LOVE LOVE to have your mama’s coconut cake recipe to add to the vintage collection..I’m thinking of having a separate section just for ‘vintage’ recipes…if you can share it, please give me a little snippet of your Mama, so when I make it and write the recipe, I can share some of her goodness in other ways, too!! xoxo ~~ally

  2. That looks scrumptious, Ally! And I think your photos with the fresh flowers in the picture are exquisite. You have now inspired me to get out the bundt pan and bake! xo

    • Dust that bundt pan off, Helena, and get baking! This recipe is fail safe…just beat beat beat…nice and thick and fluffy batter! xo

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