Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mary's Friendship Gift

I don't often bake this decadent, guilty bite of self-indulgent pleasure. Hubby's birthday was the appropriate occasion and it is a favorite at my house. Supermarkets sell pound cakes, but this one is special.

Many years ago, as I was growing up, one of my earliest memories was about a friend of my mother. The lady was named Mary. She seemed to like little children and had four of her own. She was the Sunday school teacher for the youngest children and had a talent for bringing out the best in all of them. She had a gift for listening to children, looking into the eyes of a little child, and making the child think they were the most important person in the world. She was my favorite person in the town where I grew up. She would often visit my family and we would visit her and her family.

Mary was a very hard worker and a good role model. Her yard was filled with fantastic gardens of flowers that she tended and kept beautiful for all the warm months of the year. Memories of her gardens formed in me a love of gardens that continues today. She was a mother of the fifties and sixties: homemaker supreme, extraordinary cook, enthusiastic neighbor and friend. Her ability to bring out the best in other people was a rare gift. She made people want to be better people because no one wanted to disappoint Mary.

Every Christmas, my family would receive a pound cake from her as a gift to the family. It was a special occasion when Mary's friendship cake was delivered. When I moved away from the area, I asked her for her cake recipe and this is Mary's Friendship Gift. She has long since departed this plane but her memory is always fresh when I bake her pound cake.


From – Mary, My Childhood Idol

3 sticks softened butter, (or three-fourths of a pound, or a cup and a half)
1 lb. box confectioners powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
Dash of salt
6 eggs

In large electric mixer bowl, cream together butter, sugar, salt, lemon, and vanilla.  Slowly add flour, alternating with the eggs.  Increase the speed of the mixer as needed when the batter gets thicker. Mix until fluffy.

Grease a tube cake pan with softened butter and dust with flour.

Gently transfer the cake batter to the tube pan and lightly, level the top.

Bake at 350˚ in a preheated oven at center of oven for 1 hr, 20 minutes. Add time as needed until cake is golden brown in appearance. Depending on the oven, it may take an hour and a half or an hour and 40 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes before turning upside down on a plate. Transfer to a cake dish so that cake is sliced in an upright setting. The top has a nice, golden brown crust. This cake makes a good gift item.


  1. Ah the "secret" recipe!

    Please what is a "stick" of butter I can work out cups but not a sick of something.

  2. sorry meant to say stick of something!

  3. Sorry, I forgot that packaging is different in other parts of the world. In the U.S., butter is packed in one pound boxes, with four "sticks" wrapped separately. So three sticks would be three-quarters of a pound or a cup and a half of butter. Your metric system measures differently, but I don't know the equivalent sizes in metric.