As a girl from the southern region of the United States, there were two recipes that you had to learn. The biscuit and the pound cake. The biscuits were for breaking bread with your family everyday; the pound cake, that was for “society,” be it a grieving family or fifth Sunday dinners at church or a holiday get together of friends, etc…. Your pound cake was as important as your signature, a calling card of sorts.
I can still remember all of the “parents” getting together and discussing their kids. The fretting parents of the older unmarried girls would be consoled by statements like, “Oh, she’s a great cook. Don’t worry, she’ll marry well.” Though they meant no harm with their statements, as a young girl, I remember being very bothered, feeling as if I had no power over my own destiny.
In my feminist art classes, I learned about female artists reclaiming their power through central core imagery. The point was to celebrate that mark of women’s “otherness,” replacing connotations of inferiority with those of pride, and to create a “new visual language” with which to express women’s experience.
Each of these artists, in her own way, sought to give women’s bodies back to them, to assert a positive female sexuality by claiming her sex. In that tradition, I can not think of a more “female” pound cake than the one with fruit buried within, perfuming the air seductively, with a balance of tart and sweet flavors.
Blueberry Studded Citrus Pound Cake
1 stick butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
zest of one small orange
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 ½ cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
6 0z. blueberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter, sugar and zest together; add buttermilk and lemon juice. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Add vanilla. Stir in blueberries. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for an hour and 10 minutes. Serves 8 – 10.