Bake Off


The pressure of being a hostess for a “ladies function” can make me crack. This month, two (normal) women and I are the hostesses for our local Garden Club meeting. We are to set up, decorate the tables, bring desserts, make coffee, serve and clean up. Everything’s easy as pie, except for the dessert. 

All good Southern women know that, no matter your accomplishments, you are judged by your dessert. To make matters worse, our band of April hostesses have decided to make a variety of pound cakes. Seems this month’s Southern Living is all about pound cakes so, evidently, this is the “in” dessert of the moment. 

Now we all know every woman worth her salt has got a “go-to” pound cake recipe. Women preen over their pound cakes. Some ladies dust with powdered sugar, others surround theirs with strawberries and a few are so confident of their recipe, they just serve it naked. 

But you can’t serve three versions of the same thing unless you’re doing side dishes for a big gathering. Then it’s perfectly acceptable to have more than three pea salads. 

So our little band of hostesses had a gathering to discuss pound cakes. We were each going to make a different one. I was just about to grab the “classic” pound cake, but before I could speak, one of the other girls snapped that duty right up. 

I grabbed the Southern Living magazine and scoured their six recipes and deemed Amaretto Almond Pound Cake to be a winner. Before I could announce my decision, the other hostess spoke up to say she was making a “killer Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake.” And every good Southern woman knows you can only serve one dessert with booze in it before 5 pm. 

I was at a loss for words. What kind of pound cake could I make that would be a winner? Something the ladies would talk about for years? “Well, I don’t remember most of the meetings, but I’ll never forget the pound cake Mikie brought. It was the best thing I ever put in my mouth.”

Then the worst thing imaginable happened. The ladies decided I should make a Chocolate Pound Cake. Chocolate? Have you ever had a Chocolate Pound Cake that was any good? Well, neither have I. 

After the meeting, one of these lovely ladies immediately emailed me her Chocolate Pound Cake recipe. I was stuck.

So I decided on a plan. I would cook up three different versions and we’d taste test. That way I was assured a winner. 

So yesterday, I had a bake off with myself. My bundt pan and I are flat worn out. On my counter sits over 25,824 calories and I’m on a diet – that was until yesterday. I’ve just never been able to bake without licking the spoon.

Today we’re testing all my variations but before we can do that, I have to test glazes, because all women know that you can only have one Pound Cake dusted with sugar. 

Looks like after we come up with the winner that will surely make me “somebody” in the Garden Club’s eyes, I better start delivering pound cake slices to every neighbor I know. This may end up being be harder than pawning off homegrown squash and zucchini in the middle of the summer. 

After all, when was the last time somebody showed up at your door with a slice of Chocolate Pound Cake? I can see the headlines now: “Chocolate Pound Cake Stalker Strikes Again.” 

Any way you slice it, life in the country is pretty sweet.

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time.

Mikie Baker 

Copyright Medina Mikie, Ink. 2011

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