Homemade butter

Homemade butter

The first recipe below may or may not be the famous buttermilk pound cake that graced a particular spot on Ruth and Lisle's kitchen counter for what seemed like ten years running. Mother (Ruth, Mimi) may have gotten the recipe originally from her sister-in-law, Ann Hale. Dad (Lisle, Gramps) made the cake nearly every week for a long stretch after he retired from teaching Vocational Agriculture and taught himself to bake. Niece Sallie located this recipe in her recipe box, including a note that it originally came from Southern Living magazine. The present magazine online does not include a cake like this, though.

I have redone the instructions significantly from Sallie's copy, and changed from Crisco to butter for the shortening. Many deep southern cooks valued Crisco for baking at one point, as part or all of the shortening in a cake. Crisco contained no moisture at all, and produced consistent results. Nowadays we know to avoid hydrogenated fats like Crisco, and we accept the variations in moisture that go along with butter as the main (and marvelous) shortening for pound cakes like this one.

1 c buttermilk 1 c Crisco ½ c sugar in egg whites 6 eggs, separated 1 t lemon extract 1½ t orange extract ½ t almond extract 2½ c sugar 3 c plain flour ¼ t salt ¼ t soda

  1. Separate egg whites and yolks into two bowls.
  2. Beat whites until frothy; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, and continue beating until stiff and glossy.
  3. In the second bowl, beat the egg yolks until very thick.
  4. In a third bowl, cream Crisco and 2 1/2 cups sugar. Add beaten egg yolks and flavorings.
  5. Sift flour and salt together.
  6. Stir soda into buttermilk.
  7. Add flour (three batches) and buttermilk (two batches) alternately, beginning and ending with flour.
  8. Stir in about 1/3 of the beaten egg white mixture and then fold in the remaining beaten egg whites.
  9. Bake in greased and floured tube pan at 325 degrees for 80 minutes.


CARAMEL FROSTING (I don't ever remember any frosting on this cake, but here's what Sallie found with the Southern Living recipe.)

1 c sugar 1 stick butter/margarine 1 c evaporated milk

Boil 5 minutes over low heat and stir. Add ½ c nuts and ½ c coconut.

And now for more of the story, and more recipes for Buttermilk Pound Cake:

This is a long page, and there are several recipes for Buttermilk Pound Cake further down.

When the time came to copy Mother's/Dad's Buttermilk Pound Cake onto the computer to put on the website, as promised in the May, 2008 issue of Nougat Magazine ' no recipe. I did not have it in my recipe boxes, and I could not find it at Dad's house.

I did not even know whether I was looking for a recipe in a book or on a card. ("I did not find it on a card. I did not find it in the yard. I did not find it in my box. I did not find it in my socks. I did not find it in a book. I did not find it though I looked." Apologies to Dr. Seuss.)

I suspected the recipe was on a card. I also thought I remembered that the recipe might have come from my mother's sister-in-law, Ann Hale, of Raleigh, North Carolina.

I put out a plea to siblings, cousins, friends, and not much happened at first. Then I got two happy emails. The first, from my niece Sallie, included a Buttermilk Pound Cake recipe from Southern Living that had some of the strange ingredients and instructions I remember associating with the recipe, including Crisco and three flavorings. I definitely remember my mother and Aunt Ann talking about the difference between Crisco and butter in a cake, with Mother holding out for butter all the way.

The second email came from Sallie's aunt Gwen, also my lifelong family friend, and included two recipes. Although I found many recipes for Buttermilk Pound Cake at cooks.com, I believe Ruth and Lisle's cake is likely to be one of the first two below.

Sallie wrote:

The source is Southern Living, which means I either copied the recipe out of the magazine when I used to subscribe, or out of one of Mom's cookbooks. The "THIS CAKE IS VERY MOIST" note at the end of the cake recipe made me hope that it's the recipe you're looking for. I don't know if I wrote that from experience or if it was in the source; I suspect the latter. Can't wait till the next time I make butter!


1 c buttermilk

1 c Crisco

1⁄2 c sugar in egg whites

6 eggs, separated

1 t lemon extract

11⁄2 t orange extract

1⁄2 t almond extract

21⁄2 c sugar

3 c plain flour

1⁄4 t salt

1⁄4 t soda

Separate eggs, beat whites until stiff; add 1⁄2 c sugar. Cream Crisco and sugar; add beaten egg yolks. Add flour and buttermilk, sugar, soda, salt and flavorings. Bake in greased and floured tube pan at 325 degrees for 80 minutes. THIS CAKE IS VERY MOIST.


1 c sugar 1 stick butter/margarine 1 c evaporated milk

Boil 5 minutes over low heat and stir. Add 1⁄2 c nuts and 1⁄2 c coconut.

Gwen wrote:

Rona, I looked in some old cook books that had some of Ruth's recipes in them but didn't find anything but in a real old cook book from the Stiles family in OK. See if these are similar to the one you need.


1 cup butter (preferably Crisco) 3 cups sugar cream sugar and butter, Add 2 eggs, Beat well Add dry ingredients that have been mixed together, alternately with 1 cup buttermilk 3 cups flour 1/4 tsp. soda 1/2 tsp. salt Beat well Add 3 more eggs, one at a time Beat well 1 tsp. vanilla 1 tsp. butter flavoring ( if using Crisco) 1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring Bake in greased and floured angel food cake (or bundt pan) for 1- 1/2 hours at 350 degrees This has been a winner year after year in the County Fair

Mrs. Henery Fehmer Illinois Valley

I typed just like they have it in the cook book!!

Here is another one in the same cook book RECEIPT??????????


4- 5 eggs 3 cups sugar 3 cups flour 1 cup butter 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup buttermilk 1/4 tsp soda 2 lemon juice sweetened rub on

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs unbeaten, one at a time. Beat well, Put soda with flour and sift together and add alternately with buttermilk. Add Vanilla and mix well for reasonable amount of time. Bake in a moderate oven about 1 hour. Rub on sweetened lemon juice.

Almedie Hopper Falkner, Miss.

Some more recipes, found by googling, that seemed interesting:

BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE From http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,193,152190-235193,00.html

4 c. Swans Down flour 1 lb. butter 6 lg. eggs 1 c. buttermilk 1 tsp. vanilla or lemon flavor 3 c. sugar 1/2 Crisco Pinch of salt 1 tbsp. baking powder

Cream butter, Crisco, sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix sifted flour, baking powder and salt together. Add flavor and flour to cream mixture. Then add buttermilk and alternate until creamy. Pour into pound cake or Bundt pan. Bake at 375 degrees until done.

BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE From http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,193,155187-238192,00.html

1 c. Crisco and 1 stick butter 2 1/2 c. sugar 6 eggs 2/3 c. butter milk 1/4 tsp. soda 3 c. flour, plain 1 tsp. vanilla 1 tsp. coconut flavor

Cream Crisco, butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time beat after each. Add milk and soda. Add flour 1 cup at a time, heat after each addition. Add flavor beat well the more you beat the butter.

ANNIE'S BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE From http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,193,153189-237203,00.html 3 c. sugar, divided 1 c. Crisco 5 eggs, separated 3 c. flour 1 1/4 c. buttermilk 1/4 tsp. soda

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat again. Set aside. Using same beaters, beat Crisco and remaining s ugar. Add egg yolks and beat well for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir soda into buttermilk. Add flour and buttermilk alternately and beat until smooth. Fold in egg whites and beat again until smooth. Pour into bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

Can flavor with lemon extract, orange extract, or nutmeg.