I found this pressed glass cake stand at a local charity thrift shop.  I believe it was made by the Fostoria Company, although the shop had a tag on it that said Heisey.  Isn’t it classy?

What’s really cool about it, is that it has a well in the center of the plate.

I had no idea what this hole in the plate was for — flowers, maybe?  My interwebs research revealed that this was known as a “rum well.”  Now we’re talking!  What cake wouldn’t benefit from a liberal bath in liquor?

Every time I look at this cake stand I want to start singing “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake” — a popular song from the ’50s, which went like this:

If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake

Baked a cake, baked a cake

If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake

Howd-ya-do, howd-ya-do, howd-ya-do

My version, however, is slightly different, and doesn’t involve the questionable use of double contractions.  (I mean, really — I’d’ve?):

 If I knew you were comin’ I’d have locked the door

Turned off the lights, shut the blinds

If I knew you were comin’ I’d have locked the door

Please call before you come next time

The thing is, I hate when people drop by unexpectedly.  It’s never good.  All hell breaks loose — things boil over on the stove or char in the oven, the dogs go bonkers or get out and run halfway down the block, and I have to make up some excuse why I’m still in my pajamas at 3:00 p.m. — you get the picture.  Sometimes folks come by unexpectedly to drop off something in connection with my son’s scout troop — a CD with 800 photos on it, broken camping equipment — which I receive with the same delight as when my dogs drop a dead lizard at my feet.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not antisocial — I just appreciate a heads up when someone is coming by.

My mom, on the other hand, was always ready for company.  She loved to entertain, or, as she called it, En-Ter-Tain, enunciating every syllable.  She and my dad, who were both accomplished cooks, could put together a tray of hors d’oeuvres in no time flat.  And my mom always had a home-baked cake or pie in the freezer.  Her signature cake was Jewish Pound Cake.  She found the recipe in a newspaper decades ago, and must have made 500 of them over her lifetime.  It was once her secret recipe, but now, of course, you can find it on the interwebs.

Inspired by the elegant cake stand and the memories of my entertaining mom,  I baked a Jewish Pound Cake — just in time for Rosh Hashanah.  I believe its name comes from the fact that it’s made with oil, not butter, and therefore, can be served with both a meat and a dairy meal.  It’s a simple, not-too-sweet, homey cake, best baked a day in advance, and perfect for noshing.  Or serving to unexpected company.

This cake is best made at least one day in advance.
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan.
  2. Place raisins and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together oil, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, and nuts. Add in raisin mixture, and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan.. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Hot from the oven 

I knew you were coming so I baked a cake!

 Please enjoy your cake while I put on some clothes

and go chase my dogs down the block.


2 thoughts on “MOM’S JEWISH POUND CAKE

  1. Oh, we were separated at birth. Love this post. “Stop by” is code for when people rudely come over, camp out, talk your head off, and then wonder why you seem a bit “off.”

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