Making day-off baking plans? Try these pound cakes in jars

This week’s recipe of the week is a fun one, especially if you have a day out of school or work on Monday. It’s the first vegetable shortening recipe we’ve published in a while, but if you read the charming story behind it, you’ll see why.

Looking for other baking ideas? Check out our Year of Baking series, where you’ll find stories and recipes for sweets including fudgy brownies, strawberry scones or salted chocolate chip cookies.

Happy baking!

Looking for an easy-to-gift treat to keep in your pantry? You can bake pound cake in jars that will last for up to a year. Contributed by Lucy Shaeffer

Looking for an easy-to-gift treat to keep in your pantry? You can bake pound cake in jars that will last for up to a year. Contributed by Lucy Shaeffer

Pound Cakes in Jars

sweetness-2d-new-coverShay Baugh’s grandparents in Locust Fork, Alabama, always sent guests home with leftover pound cake, but about 20 years ago, that cake took on a different form.

“Sometime in the mid-1970s my grandmother brought home the recipe for pound cake from her job at the flower shop. It was an instant staple at her house from then on. The recipe stayed the same until the late ’90s. Granny heard that someone had been making bread in Mason jars and decided that was a great way to preserve her pound cake for her grandson who was leaving for his first military tour of duty in Qatar,” Baugh writes in a new book called “Sweetness: Southern Recipes to Celebrate the Warmth, the Love, and the Blessings of a Full Life” (Workman, $16.95).

She tweaked the temperature, time, and quantities until she had perfected her craft. The final product was pound cake in a wide-mouth pint canning jar that would stay fresh for months at a time.” Those cakes made it all the way to the Middle East without cracking or spoiling, and now the family has shipped them to members of the military all around the world. Baugh also keeps some in her pantry to give to visitors, just like her grandmother did.

3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
6 large eggs
1 (8 oz.) sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon or almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray the inside of 9 wide-mouth pint jars with cooking spray, wipe off the rims and set aside.

Cream together the sugar and shortening in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the sour cream, flour, vanilla, lemon or almond extract, salt and baking soda. Mix again with the electric mixer at medium speed, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed, until well incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

Fill the jars halfway with batter (no more). Place the jars on a rimmed baking sheet, making sure they aren’t touching. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and wipe off the rims. Place a lid and ring on each jar and screw it shut securely, but not with force. You’ll need to use a dish towel to do this as the jars will be hot. After a few moments, you’ll hear a pop as the lids seal. Allow to cool entirely before storing.

Pound cakes will keep, stored and sealed in jars, for at least 1 year. Makes 9 pint-size jars of cake.

— Recipe by Shay Baugh from “Sweetness: Southern Recipes to Celebrate the Warmth, the Love, and the Blessings of a Full Life” (Workman, $16.95) by Christy Jordan

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