This cake is mind-blowing. Not looks-good-on-pinterest-but-doesn't-taste-good. This real honest-to-goodness, Grandmama made it so many times she's famous for it, your friends are gonna think you-are-a-star kind of goodness. To have a quick, easy, good recipe you can whip up when you know somebody might pop over is priceless. And Margie Tygart's photographed by Javon Longieliere is just that!
So a statue was erected in the children's garden across from the the Nashville courthouse in honor of Margie's foraged floral compositions that she effortlessly shared in her community. As a child, she was my grandmother. When she told you what to do you did it. Today I am grateful for the times being sent to the garden and the times being told to work. I learned a lot of things that translate easily into the magical world of floristry. Beyond flowers, Margie is also known for a cake that I confess I can never make it as good as hers! It's served my family well. I'm gonna share it with yah just as it was originally shared as part of a collaboration featuring Colonial House of Flowers with Pottery Barn and Camp Makery called: "Margie's Million Dollar Classic Homemade Pound Cake."
We lost her in 2018, which makes all this pound cake-ness with photos at Camp Tygart worth a king's ransom. It's simple, pretty, melt in your mouth gonna have you dreaming of taking this thing everywhere because it makes you look like a Million Dollars. Just. you wait.
Margie's Million Dollar Classic Homemade Pound Cake
Recipe by: Margie Tygart, my grandmama
- 3 Cups Sugar
- 6 Eggs Room Temperature
- 1 Crisco Baking Sticks 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 of 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.
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 the same one 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.
Tip: For a twist on this classic recipe add seasonal fruits or nuts. My favorite is with pecans. Add seasonal citrus like lemon or oranges for an unexpected boost to the buttery flavor.
Tip: Wholeheartedly, GG recommends a romantic beverage like a medium-bodied wine when serving, sharing and baking this recipe (hey! while we're being honest here!). We concur this chardonnay from Cameron Hughes is our new match because of it's oaky, buttery flavor gives a perfectly smooth finish to the hint of vanilla. This just might be the best pairing of them all - an heirloom recipe, a fascinating outdoor 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 Margie and my aunt used it for my wedding cake?
Decorate the top with okra pods, pine cones, pecans and flowers if you like.
Store cake at room temperature.
Before I conclude, I must say that I once heard Naomi de Manana who is Martha Stewart's Floral expert say, "beauty and life are fleeting." The thought that there's pretty in every stage of a process has stayed with me to become a mantra that I believe's true. 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, Lauren, Vanessa, my sister, aunts, mom, husband, children, Camp Makery, Colonial House of Flowers, Pottery Barn and the generous photographer, Javon. 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 s 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! :)