This month’s column is in memory of Linda Allison-Lewis, who has written our cooking column since May 1995. Linda passed away at the age of 63 on Tuesday, June 21, after a short battle with cancer. She will be missed greatly by the Kentucky Living staff and her readers.
Linda’s life was focused on people and food. In addition to being a food columnist for several newspapers, she was a food critic, a youth minister, taught religion classes at her church, caterer, and was an author of self-help books as well as cookbooks. She taught her children to feed the homeless by working at shelters and serving tasty food to those in need.
Her three children—Chris, Scott, and Noelle—feel sharing her “secret recipe” for Cream Cheese Pound Cake is the best gift to her readers. Several years ago, Linda thought she might one day open a business selling this cake.
Linda created many renditions using her grandmother’s basic pound cake recipe by adding 1 cup of fresh fruit—mango, blackberries, peaches, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries—and then adding an additional 1 cup of sugar. Sometimes she would create a cashew and chocolate cake. Depending on her whim, Linda would top it with fruit, fruit puree, or freshly whipped cream.
This pound cake is moist, dense, buttery-smooth, but not overly sweet. We hope you enjoy the recipe and make it your own to hand down to your family.
CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE
3⁄4 C (1 1⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 1⁄2 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 C flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
Fresh fruit or whipping cream for topping
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a large tube or Bundt pan. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until light in color and very fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat one minute between each egg. Stir flour and baking powder together, then gradually add it to the mixture with a rubber spatula. Once incorporated, beat for 5 seconds longer and check for lumps. If using fruit, add last and stir just until combined. (You can divide batter evenly between two small, prepared pans and freeze one for later.) Bake in large pan for 1 1⁄2 hours (small pans for about 1 hour) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You may want to place aluminum foil on top of cake the last 1⁄2 hour so cake does not brown too much. The top of cake should be golden brown and will crack. Cool for 10 minutes and run a knife around the edges of the pan, then turn out onto cake rack. Cool completely before slicing. Top with fruit or whipped cream. Serves 12.
Fruit is optional, but you can add the
following to the above base:
1 C fresh fruit, diced or small pieces
1 C additional sugar
4 sliced tomatoes
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell, chilled
1 C finely diced onions
1/2 C chopped mix fresh herbs (such as tarragon, oregano, basil, parsley)
Salt and pepper
1 C mayonnaise
1 C grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Place sliced tomatoes on cookie sheet and salt lightly. Allow to sit a few minutes until juices are drawn out. Rinse tomatoes under cold water and pat dry with paper towel—a very critical step. Place one-third of tomatoes into pie shell. Add one-half of the onions and one-third of the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add another layer using one-third of the tomatoes, remaining onions, and one-third of the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Combine remaining herbs with mayonnaise and cheese and spread this mixture on top of pie. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 6-8.
Submitted by DAISY ALLEN, Meade County RECC, who tells us she received the recipe from a friend and it’s now a favorite at her table.
TOMATO SPOON SALAD
3 large tomatoes
2 green peppers
1 large onion
1 C vinegar
1⁄2 C water
2 Tbsps sugar
Pinch of salt
Cut tomatoes, peppers, and onion into small pieces and place in large bowl. In a small bowl mix vinegar, water, sugar, and salt together until sugar dissolves. Pour dressing over vegetables and let stand while making dinner. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 8-10.
Submitted by BARBARA WATKINS, a member of Farmers RECC, who likes to serve this side dish with dried beans and cornbread.