Pound Cake

The things I could write about pound cake. I could go on and on and bore you to death, so I think I will.

After my father died, I remember visiting a Methodist church with my boyhood friend, and he was introducing me to people. He was raised Methodist, I was not. My people were Baptist.

The Methodists were cheerful. My people didn’t believe in cheer. Our pastor preached hard against alcoholism and promiscuity because these things could lead to dancing.

My friend pointed to one lady in the congregation. She was slight, with gray hair, and a blue skirt suit.

There are some people you don’t forget. She was one of those people. She had a heavenly glow. People smiled when they passed by her like she was unique.

“Who’s that woman?” I asked.

“That is the Pound Cake Lady,” my pal said in reverence.

After the Methodist service, my friend led me to a downstairs fellowship hall. The Methodists put out a bigger spread than any I’d ever seen. There was even a special table dedicated to cornbread and biscuits.

It was too much. Overwhelming. I even saw people standing outside the fellowship hall, smoking cigarettes after their meal. It was as though they were unwinding after sin.

The woman in the blue skirt suit placed something on the end of the table. It was golden, fat, hulking, sacred pound cake.

“Hurry and get some,” said my friend, “before it’s all gone.”

He was right. The cake didn’t last four seconds among those chain-smoking Methodists. But when it disappeared, the old woman replaced it with another.

People blessed her name forevermore. Hallelujah. And so did I.

So every church has a pound cake lady. They are young, middle-aged, or elderly, and they are holy. These ladies are messengers, sent to humanity as proof that God is not gluten-free. He loves white flour, sugar, and butter, no matter what diet books say.

If you have doubts whether your congregation has a pound cake lady, just ask your church secretary. She knows their phone number by heart.

Years later, I met a young woman at a similar potluck. She was brunette, Baptist, with brown eyes. She and I became friendly and spent time together.

One summer, she invited me to go with her family on their annual vacation.

Her family rented a house in Indian Pass, Florida, on the Gulf. When I arrived, I found the place filled with people. They were crammed in that little house, eating raw oysters, laughing, and carrying on. There were so many that some had to sleep on coffee tables and in bathtubs. I felt out of place.

The girl’s mother showed me to my bedroom, which was down the hall from the brunette’s room.

The woman said, “This is where you sleep. I’m right across the hall. And remember, I can hear whenever your door opens.”

And I knew that if I tried to exit my room past curfew—even to visit the little boys’ room—I would wake up graveyard dead.

I fell asleep that night wondering why I was there, on vacation with a happy family. I didn’t belong to these people. I’d never belonged anywhere. Ever since boyhood, I had a hard time fitting in.

My family was nothing like this family. We were broken, and about as unstable as rickety stool.

The next morning I awoke to a pleasant smell that flooded the house. It was a familiar aroma. I followed it down stairs.

There, I found everyone awake. A big man dressed in seersucker, a woman wearing pearls, a lady with a big sun hat, and several others. They were all singing, “In the Garden.”

They asked me to join the singing, so we all sang together and I wondered if these people were fugitives from the Searcy nuthouse.

Then some lady said, “We’re so glad to have you here, Sean.”

Everyone agreed with her. And I don’t know why, but I nearly cried.

And that smell. It was so strong. It smelled like being hugged. Like vanilla. Like prayer meetings on warm Saturday evenings. Like looking at a midnight sky over the Gulf of Mexico.

From the kitchen came the brunette. Young. Smiling. She carried a plate. On the dish was the source of the smell. A slice of warm, yellow, dense pound cake.

Everyone stopped singing. They behaved reverently when she passed by. Boys removed their hats and held them over their hearts.

And the family watched me take my first bite. A bite that would change my life forever.

I told you, I could go on and on about pound cake and bore you to death. But I won’t.

I just wanted to tell you how I came to marry the Pound Cake Lady.


  1. Toni - May 24, 2023 10:30 am

    The way to a man’s heart …..

    • Gean Martin - May 25, 2023 6:29 am

      Where the respee

  2. Mac - May 24, 2023 12:22 pm

    My grandmother was a pound cake lady. She taught her daughter-in-law, my mother, who taught my wife. A wonderful southern tradition!

  3. Richard Owen - May 24, 2023 12:59 pm

    Made me chuckle!

  4. Cate - May 24, 2023 1:02 pm

    Sean, my mother was a “Pound Cake” lady. Although she did not attend church, she was known far and wide for her pound cakes. Her secret was beating each egg three minutes and she used six eggs in her pound cake. She was kind of like your Methodist Pound Cake Lady in that she always had a smile and she loved people as much as they loved her. She stopped making pound cake when she was in her mid 90’s but she lived to be 106. She died in her sleep about 16 months ago. I have long since taken over her role in making the Easter pound cake recipe but they will never be the same.

    • Kim Ezman - May 25, 2023 11:04 pm

      Awe, your mom was an awesome woman. My mom would make a pound cake every week. Mace was the amazing ingredient, it used 8 eggs and in the spring she would use duck and geese eggs. Yum, when I can get my hands on a duck or goose egg, I am all in and love them sunny side up.

  5. Maxine Flax - May 24, 2023 1:48 pm

    Love trying to make the p
    Pound Cake Maybe someone will honor me with The name of the pound cake lady because I love to Cook cakes and I can make very good German Chocolate cake that the lady Miss Pman
    Tough me from West Virginia

  6. Dee Thompson - May 24, 2023 2:52 pm

    When my grandfather retired he was getting on Memaw’s nerves, so she taught him how to make pound cake. He loved them. Sometimes he would put on his big apron and put my little apron on me and I would “help” him. Making pound cake with him is one of my most treasured memories. Every time I make one today I think of that. Pound cake baking in the oven smells like love. Thank you for the reminder.

  7. stephenpe - May 24, 2023 4:10 pm

    I married the daughter of a pound cake lady. This woman was a nurse in WW2. Close to combat. Her husband was in combat and captured. Many years later I married their youngest. And I swear once a week that pound cake from heaven was on her kitchen table. And I probably ate 1/2 of it. It was perfect. Recently I found her recipe and have made it twice. I had lots of eggs from my close friend and knew it took quite a few for good pound cake. Nothing like it. It is almost a religious experience……..

  8. Erica Rauzin - May 24, 2023 4:49 pm

    Please give yourself a treat and watch Jeanne Robertson’s pound cake monologue. You will laugh until your cheeks hurt.

  9. Carole Albyn - May 24, 2023 7:54 pm

    Love 💘!

  10. Karen Bright - May 24, 2023 8:54 pm

    I guess in my family I’m considered the Pound Cake Lady. I’m “72” years old and I have been making my Mom’s recipe since I was about “12.” I make it often for family and friends. It is a perfect cake for any occasion. It’s the best smelling and tasting cake!

  11. evamarieeverson - May 24, 2023 8:58 pm

    I am the Pound Cake Lady of our family, having obtained the title after my mother’s passing. Sour Cream is a must. If there is an event in my family, I’m always asked, “Will you bring pound cake?” I guess if the answer is ever “no,” then I’m no longer invited.

  12. Kenya - May 24, 2023 9:49 pm

    Can someone please share a good Pound Cake recipe and baking tips? I would like to bake my very first one 🙂

  13. Denise Hoehl - May 24, 2023 9:54 pm

    I love this story , and I’d love to get some great pound cake recipe please & thank you

  14. Marilyn J Davis - May 24, 2023 10:34 pm

    In my family,I’m the Pound cake Lady. I bake pound cakes when I’m happy,sad,stressed out,for funerals,when someone passes away,when someone is born,for friends,my elderly neighbors,my daughters and my grandchildren. Nothing says love like a poundcake. It’s my favorite.

  15. Carol - May 25, 2023 12:11 am

    I love pound cakes I make them on a weekly bases for a large group of friends churches and family but I put 4 special ingredients in my to make it my own.

  16. Ethel miller - May 25, 2023 6:19 am


  17. Iris - May 25, 2023 1:26 pm

    Please print the pound cake recipe

  18. Lenora Long - May 25, 2023 2:22 pm

    On very interesting. Makes me want to turn the oven on.

  19. Corine - May 25, 2023 6:35 pm

    Lovely story. Wish I could get the pound cake recipe. Would happy to take it in our church next potluck.

  20. Barbara Foster - May 25, 2023 6:56 pm

    Great read! I will admit, I’m the official Pound Cake Lady for my family and friends. It is so comforting to make and rewarding to see the facial expressions when serving.

    Nothing like a slice of a soft warm pound cake and a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream! 😋

  21. Gwen West - May 26, 2023 7:57 am

    I am the cook in my family. I cook everything and bake nice biscuits from scratch. Plus I make all kinds of desserts. But I never tried the pound cake. My aunt Josie is the pound cake lady in our family with the best 7up pound cake that melt in your mouth. Aunt Josie is 90 now. I would not cross her territory in baking a pound cake until she tells me it’s ok. It seems that the pound cake lady has a special gift that only she can pass on!


Leave a Comment