Food writer and author Nicki Pendleton Wood’s new cookbook is packed to bursting with recipes, tips and secrets from some of the best dinner hosts in the nation: Southerners. Wood interviewed more than 100 people from the American South who take great pride in their dinner parties, especially the dessert portion of the evening.
“I always figure out what we’re having for dessert first when I plan supper,” says Katy Houston of Ridgeland, Mississippi. Houston channeled her lifelong love for baking and desserts into healing help for a college student recovering from a disastrous cycling accident. For 62 weeks, Houston visited her son’s best friend each Monday with a homemade dessert, thinking, “If this brings you one ounce of happiness today, I will have done what I tried to do.” She collected all the recipes into a book, testing them with her friends, church groups, and anyone else she could recruit. Her Peach Almond Pound Cake turns out to be “great for a picnic or summery type party,” she says, because of the seasonal flavor, its generous 16 servings, and its ability to withstand hot weather. Let Houston’s generosity, and her recipe, inspire your own hospitality.
Reprinted with permission from Southern Cooking for Company
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups chopped peaches, fresh or frozen and thawed, drained
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand or electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, then beat for at least 8 minutes or until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the sour cream and peaches in a small bowl. Add the flour and sour cream mixtures alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until just combined. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 1 1⁄2 to 1 3⁄4 hours, until the cake is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely.