It's known as the Million Dollar Pound Cake recipe because it's bought Margie her way into a lotttt of places, people and hearts. Without pretension, usually wrapped in foil or atop a wood slab this 88 year old uses the recipe as a business tool, token of appreciation, and expression of love. "I like to give people something special," says my Grandmama Margie as she charismatically smiles, "something to remember me by!" From doctors to attorneys to congressmen to friends to family from Sacramento, California to Lousiville, Kentucky, Atlanta, Georgia and Abacos, Bahamas -- there's hardly anyone in her life that she hasn't approached bearing this trademark loaf.
So for all you that have time to get your bake on, this one's a guaranteed hit! Be forewarned, my grandmother has served this dessert so many times she’s famous for it. I'm a firm believer that a sweet recipe should be a part of every table and that every entertainer should have a signature. Today, we're lucky enough that Margie Tygart is sharing the fine-tuned process of that cake that's talked about from the youngest to the oldest in her circles - -- did you spy it my last post? Huge thank you to Javon Longieliere for capturing the legacy.
Margie's Million Dollar Classic Homemade Pound Cake
Recipe by: Margie Tygart
3 Cups Sugar
6 Eggs Room Temperature
1 Crisco Baking Sticks (which is 1 cup) All Vegetable Shortening
1 8oz, Cream Cheese Room Temperature
3 Cups of sifted all purpose White Lily Flour
2 tsp Pure Vanilla Flavoring, must be real
1 Stick Land of Lakes Butter
"With a good mixer,” she says referencing her handsome, astutely aged appliance, "cream butter and Crisco stick." Add sugar a little at a time. Add soft cream cheese. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Add flour, gradually. Mix in Vanilla. Grease pan. Place in cold oven. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes at 300 - 325 degrees on the second rack from the bottom.
Cool in the pan. After cooling turn the pan over. Tap the pan on the bottom with a knife and it will slide right out.
Decorate the top with okra pods, pine cones and flowers if you like.
Store cake at room temperature.
Tip: Always use pure Vanilla, not imitation.
Tip: A powerful mixer is very important. “My husband surprised me with a white stand Kitchenaid Mixer one year that I thought was the best present I’d ever received! I’ve used it for forty or fifty years, she laughed. I make certain, all of my children and grandchildren have the same exact one when they get married. A good mixer makes a good life."
Tip: The real secret according to Margie: bring everything to room temperature before mixing. "And I do mean room temperature," she emphasized with a tilted head and sharp eye.
A real old time recipe, it's rich and buttery with a moist center and delicate crumb that delights all of us - even the youngest palettes. I was under the impression this was just a nostalgic, personal fave, but after seeing my five year old's reaction the other day when he received her pound cake in the mail I know this is a crowd pleaser! For a twist on this classic recipe add fresh fruits or nuts. My favorite variation is pecans.
Wholeheartedly, GG recommends a romantic beverage like a medium-bodied wine when serving, sharing and baking this recipe (hellooo while we're being honest here!). We concur this chardonnay from Cameron Hughes is our new match because it's oaky, buttery flavor is a perfectly smooth finish to the hint of vanilla. This just might be the best pairing ever - an heirloom recipe, a fascinating alfresco location, grandmothers-mothers-sisters-daughters and really great wine? Does it get any better than this?
This recipe is always perfect to serve. Did I mention it was my wedding cake? Add seasonal citrus like lemon or oranges for an unexpected boost to the buttery flavor.
Remember to give the confection personality! Choose a serving piece that fits the event aesthetic. I choose the Pottery Barn Pizza Cutting Board for this table because it transforms the cake into an amazing centerpiece. Plus it’s great for gift giving - leave behind for the hostess, honoree or friend.
Before I conclude, I've gotta share I once heard Naomi de Manana who is Martha Stewart's Floral expert say that beauty and life are fleeting. The thought that there's pretty in every stage of a process has stayed with me and become my mantra. Just as the fading moment of this morsel of cake so is the get-up-and-go in us all. Time passes while much is lost, elapsed, removed. This is why I'm indebted to everyone who happily allows me to share this -- you, my editor Lauren here at Camp Makery, my aunts, mom, husband, children, Colonial House of Flowers, Pottery Barn, and especially my sis and the photographer.
Sometimes, the sparkle, the life blood, the story, the verve, the high spirits, the recipe if you will - lives-on in a tradition, a birthright even. In the case of Margie's Million Dollar Cake that's opened so many doors she can't calculate, the beauty lives on as an endowment, a bill for a sunny life, a bright future and a full sugared, spawn and breed of folk nice enough to bake you a simple homemade cake.
Happy baking, maker friends!
See the full tablescape and story on Camp Makery, here.
Location: Camp J.D. Tygart
Photography by Javon Longieliere Photography
Fruit & Nuts: Southern Grace Farms
Floral Design: Peggy Beam and Kathy Tygart
Floral Selection: Mark Jackson, Cutflower Atlanta
Models: Beatrice Hulsey and Lily Currier
Cake + Recipe: Margie Tygart
Candles: Southern Soy Candle
Chardonnay: Cameron Hughes
Olive Oil + Olive Trees: Georgia Olive Farms
Garland: Amanda Currier and Christy Hulsey
Pickled Green Tomatoes: Phickles Pickles
Glasses: Pottery Barn
Serving Bowl: Pottery Barn
Mercury Vases: Pottery Barn
Votives: Pottery Barn
Hurricanes: Pottery Barn
Cutting Board: Pottery Barn
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