Let me just put it out there now. I am not an Elvis Presley fan. (moment of silence and a quick whispered “I’m sorry” to my mom and my cousin, JuJu). Now, I really love watching old Elvis movies – the same way I love watching old Frankie Avalon movies and most Disney flicks – because I really believe life should be a musical and everyone should dance randomly for no good reason at all. But I don’t own one album. There’s not even one song on a playlist. No, not even Blue Christmas (another moment of silence and whispered apology to the ladies who loved him).
But while I don’t listen to his music, there are now two Elvis things that I find beautiful. One is the Memphis French Toast at the Classen Grill in Oklahoma City. It’s bread stuffed with peanut butter and bananas, then dipped in a cinnamon-kissed batter and grilled and served with a side of bacon. Good heavens. Seriously. OK, maybe the restaurant itself makes the dish perfect (it’s old and cozy with homemade, kinda-divey vibe). But seriously.
And now, I’ve got another Elvis thing in my life: his favorite pound cake. Well, at least that’s how Epicurious touted it, and who am I to question. This cake is dense and moist and is perfect by itself or with berries, ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream – or maybe even peanut butter and bananas. And bacon. Because everything is better with bacon. It takes just a bit of time to prepare and bake, and it’s worth it. Don’t cheat on any of the steps – even on sifting the flour three times. Honestly, if this really WAS Elvis’ favorite cake, maybe I need to reconsider being a fan. He had exceptional taste in pound cake.
Today, put on some music, dance randomly for no good reason, and become a fan of this cake. And for those of you who have encouraged my joy of kitchen therapy, thank you – thank you very much. I wish I could invite you over right now for a slice.
Elvis’ Favorite Pound Cake
Makes one 10-inch tube pan or 10-inch bundt cake. Note: Do not use a pan with a removable bottom. And do not preheat oven before baking.
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
7 large eggs (let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes)
2 teaspoons vanilla (of course, Mexican vanilla if you’ve got it)
1 cup heavy cream
Put oven rack in middle position, but do not preheat oven. Prepare cake pan.
Sift together pre-sifted flour and salt into a bowl. Repeat sifting into another bowl (flour will have been sifted 3 times total).
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or 6 to 8 minutes with a handheld mixer. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour, then all of cream, then remaining flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down side of bowl, then beat at medium-high speed 5 minutes. Batter will become creamier and satiny.
Spoon batter into pan and rap pan against work surface once or twice to eliminate air bubbles. Place pan in (cold) oven and turn oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around inner and outer edges of cake, then invert rack over pan and invert cake onto rack to cool completely.