This is delicious and fragrant comfort food if there ever was any. I’ve been making this for many years, and the smell is just heavenly. How heavenly? A number of years ago I was awaiting delivery of something, can’t remember what now, but what I do remember is the reaction. Two men and the truck arrived in the driveway, whereupon they got out and came to the door. When I answered, the driver said, “I don’t know what you’re making, but the smell outside is just incredible!!!” I was a bit shocked, not realizing my wonderful aromas had carried that far. This cake is not for those counting calories, as it contains fair amounts of sour cream, butter, brown sugar and eggs, but the result is well worth it. Plus, you can always freeze it.
The original recipe comes out of the first cookbook I ever bought when I was first married, so don’t laugh: Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. That was some time ago now, but over the years, it has maintained its comfort food status. Probably a number of you can find this recipe in your own collections, as I’m sure it’s been kept through the ages. A good cup of tea, and you’re living! So, thanks to Betty, here’s the recipe:
1-1/2 cups sugar*
3/4 cups margarine or butter**
1-1/2 tsp vanilla***
3 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour, I used all purpose
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (I use pecans, but walnuts will work very well too)
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon.
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease tube pan 10-inch-by-4-inch or 12 cup Bundt pan, (I usually use the tube pan). or 2 loaf pans, 9-by-5-by-3-inch. Beat sugar, margarine/butter, eggs, and vanilla in large mixer bowl on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 2 minutes. Beat in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt alternatively with sour cream on low speed. Prepare filling.
For tube or Bundt pans, spread 1/3 of the batter (about 2 cups) in pan and sprinkle with 1/3 of the filling (about 6 tbsp); repeat 2 times. For loaves, spread 1/4 of the batter (about 1-1/2 cups) in each pan and sprinkle each with 1/4 of the filling (about 5 tbsp); repeat.
Bake until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour (note: this could be less, so keep an eye on it). Cool slightly; remove from pan(s). Cool 10 minutes. Yield 12 to 14 servings.
*The last time I made this cake, about a month ago, I cut the sugar down to 1 cup with no appreciable difference in quality.
**I really urge you to use real butter here for the flavor.
***Please use pure vanilla extract here: The flavor difference is amazing. An older bottle of the fake stuff will smell, of all things, like flowers or perfume. Don’t think you want that.
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