Wake and Bake: Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Carrie Vasios

A recent gchat exchange between me and a friend.

Friend: "What's going on?" Me: "Not much. Thinking about making pound cake." Friend: "Mmm. Pound cake? That shiz is underrated." Me: "Can we have a pro-pound cake moment?" Friend: "Do you have to ask?" Me: "You know when I was little, a visit to my Pop-Pop's house had two snack options: dry oatmeal cookies (not even with raisins!) or a straight-from-the-freezer slice of Sara Lee pound cake. My sister went for the cookies (WHY?) but I always went for that pound cake." Friend: "Because pound cake is the best." Me: "It's SO GOOD. Dense, vanilla-y, satisfying in a way that you always want cake to be but rarely is. I love when it has a little skin on top." Friend: "Yes! The skin is the best. My folks used to buy the exact same when I was a kid. Why they were giving a fat kid pound cake is beyond me. Except I'm sure I was whining for it."

So ignoring the fact that I talk pound cake in my free time, let's focus on the important part: pound cake is amazing and often bypassed for daintier, more ethereal fare. And yes, when it comes to making croissants or even muffins, I aim to get them lighter-than-air. But pound cake is a different story. I want my pound cake to have a tight, almost dense crumb—the kind where you bite into it and your teeth leave indented sink marks. It should also be very moist, though not greasy or dripping with butter. I like pound cake that tastes of vanilla (because of those early days of Sara Lee) and is just sweet enough to pair well with a cup of strong coffee but not so sweet that you wouldn't want a thick slab.

This pound cake is how I like it: thick and homey, though the fresh blueberries and lemon give it an edge. Buttermilk is the secret to keeping the crumb moist and giving it the requisite indent marks. Like most pound cakes, it's easy to prepare and keeps well for a few days. Fellow Sara Lee lovers, this is for you.