Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nonnie's Sour Cream Cake

If you ever find yourself with half a dozen eggs, half a pound of butter, and bundt pan that's been feeling a little neglected, I highly recommend that you make this cake. Not only will you free up some space in the fridge and make your bundt pan feel loved, you'll make your taste buds very, very happy. When I was eight or so, my mom gave me a choice of two recipes for my birthday cake: sour cream cake or strawberry sparkle cake. Being eight years old and not caring much for sour cream, strawberry sparkle cake was the obvious choice, but my mom strongly suggested that I opt for sour cream cake instead (why she even gave me a choice, I'm not sure, but that's beside the point). I did, and liked it so much that I've still never had strawberry sparkle cake.

Anyway, his recipe comes courtesy of my maternal grandmother, whom we call Nonnie due to my inability to pronounce "Grandma" when I was very small. (Inexplicably, my paternal grandmother, who actually lives closer to us and whom I presumably saw more frequently when I was that age, escaped without my giving her a nickname.) I'm not entirely sure where she got it--it might be a family recipe, it might come from a book or a magazine--so in the absence of additional source information, it's Nonnie's Sour Cream Cake. ETA: Last night I asked my mom about this cake. Apparently it is a family recipe from Nonnie's mother, who by all accounts was a fantastically good baker. 

I recommend eating it plain or, if you must adorn it, accompanied by fresh berries. The recipe is rather terse and I post it here as written, so if you would like more explanation of any steps, just let me know. 

Sour Cream Cake

3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
6 eggs, separated
2 (1/2 pound) sticks butter (there is a note saying "no substitutions," so I guess whoever wrote it means business!)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Cream butter and sugar until very creamy.
2. Add egg yolks one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda and sour cream.
4. Sift flour three times; add flour and sour cream alternately to the butter-sugar-egg mixture, blending well after each addition.
5. Add almond extract and vanilla.
6. Beat egg whites to form stiff peaks, then fold into batter.
7. Pour into well greased, lightly floured tube pan; bake 1 1/2 hours at 300F. 


Bee said...


Thank you, my goddess. I am going to make this in the next day or two, so I will be reporting back.

Do you know how it freezes? I ask because there are only three of us here at the moment, and one of us (Sigmund) doesn't eat cake.

BTW, I loved the way you set up this piece. It IS funny how parents like to think they are offering "choices," when it is obvious that they already have an agenda of some sort. So what was the strawberry sparkle cake . . . cause that sounds pretty perfect for a little girl. (Your mom must have been amazingly persuasive, or you must have been quite docile!)

Anne said...

Bee - I've never frozen it, but I'm fairly certain that you could. It's similar to a pound cake (just moister and even more delicious), and I understand that those freeze well.

You know, to this day I have no idea what strawberry sparkle cake is! LOL. I will be chez M&D this evening for dinner, so perhaps I'll ask Mom to break out that recipe in the interest of research. But yes, exactly, you see why I wanted strawberry sparkle cake! I mean, strawberries and sparkles! It doesn't get much better than that.

I don't think Mom was especially persuasive, I think she just persevered until I gave in! Of course, once I tried the cake I never looked back, but in the meantime there may or may not have been some grumpiness on my part. :)

Bee said...

Very rainy Monday here . . . the perfect weather for a baking binge. I made this cake -- but had a disaster getting it out of the pan! I realize, looking back over the directions, that I "greased" but I did not "flour" my Bundt pan. Good grief; Baking 101.

It is now in delicious chunks that make it very difficult to practice any kind of portion control.

So do you have any suggestions for broken pound cake?

BTW, I had conveniently forgotten that youngest daughter does not like the taste of almond. (She likes real almonds, but not the "marzipan" taste of almost extract.) She requested that I make it with just the vanilla. Have you tried it this way? I will definitely make this again -- as we have barely made a dent in the eggs.

Anne said...

Oh no! Well, at least it still tastes good! You could make trifle, I suppose, although it's a bit dense for trifle. Or just eat the chunks as they are! Or with raspberry sauce, or--if you really want to gild the lily--with custard sauce.

The cake really is very forgiving, though. Speaking of baking 101, despite having read the recipe and typed it up just a day or two earlier, when I made this (Saturday, I think) I put in only one of the three cups of sugar! I only realized my error after I'd folded in a third of the egg whites. Well, I figured that if it was ruined, it was ruined, and two cups of sugar wasn't going to hurt it... so I added the two remaining cups of sugar. Even though I'd already mixed in the flour...!!! In the end, if you could tell that I'd messed up, it was only in that the cake was slightly stiff. The flavor was just as it should be, and it wasn't nearly as tough as I was afraid it would be. Nevertheless, I might put asterisks around the sugar quantity in my written copy of the recipe!

It's too bad about your youngest doesn't like almond extract. That's one of my favorite things about the cake! But I'm sure it's delicious without. Someday, though, you must try the version with almond extract.

Anonymous said...

Fine. I'm convinced. I'm putting sour cream on the grocery list and making this cake this weekend.

Anne said...

Do it! With some berries from your mom's garden? Heavens, yes.