I have never really been a sweets person.

My food indulgences have always come in the form of “chips and____” (guacamole, cheese dip, bean dip, salsa…).

In my thirteen years of marriage and almost ten years of being a mom, I have yet to develop a love for baking sweets.

I feel almost ashamed to admit that I have only made homemade cookies for the kids a handful of times, and those times it was out of fear that they would tell someone, “my mom never has warm cookies waiting on us when we get home from school.”

Joe’s favorite dessert is pumpkin pie.  I think I am a great daughter-in-law to not try to outdo his mom.  Isn’t it okay for him to think that I “don’t know how” to cook a pie?   Isn’t it noble of me to let his mom remain “the best pumpkin pie maker” in his eyes?  Why would I want to have to make him choose?

I bake a couple of times of year.  Usually a batch or two of cookies for the kids and always two buttermilk pound cakes…ALL for me.

Pound cake.  For at least 25 years, it has been my birthday cake of choice.

Plain pound cake.  No topping.  No extras.  Just give me plain, buttermilk pound cake and a cup of coffee.  Stick a candle in it if you like…but it isn’t necessary.

Every summer when I was in grade school, I would spend at least a week by myself with my grandmother, who we all called Ma-Ma.

There were many things to look forward to at Ma-Ma’s house, many of which came in the form of food.

Peanut butter and syrup for breakfast.  Oatmeal cookies for snack.  Fried okra and Homemade Mac and cheese for dinner.  And my all-time favorite…buttermilk pound cake for dessert.

One summer I asked her if she would make me a pound cake for my birthday cake in October.

And so it started.  Each year of my life, until God called her home in 2000, Ma-Ma made me a pound cake when she knew I was coming to her house.

It has been twelve years now that I have had to make my own pound cakes.

Twice a year I pull out the bundt cake pan, buy shortening & buttermilk, and bake a cake.

On my own birthday in October, I rarely share a piece with anyone.

I am more generous in January.

Ma-Ma was born on January 7th, 1907.

Each year I use her birthday as an opportunity to tell the kids (and Joe who only knew her for a year) stories about my dear Ma-Ma.

With each bite of pound cake, I am taken back to that tiny house in Caddo, Oklahoma.    I can close my eyes, and I am 8 years old again sitting at Ma-Ma’s huge kitchen table, enjoying a piece of warm pound cake and coffee (yep…I learned to drink coffee BLACK at my Ma-Ma’s at age 8).

The past few years there has been another person in my life with whom I have shared some of my beloved pound cake.

Five years ago, we moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  We didn’t know a soul.  One of the first friends I made was a precious gal from Wyoming named Lissa, who was the wife of the leader of our church community group.

In that first year, there were many things about her that let me know that we could be good friends.

She loved Jesus.  She didn’t mind running around town without make-up.  And there was one thing that sealed the deal on our friendship.

I found out that she loves pound cake.   Plain.  No icing.  No lemon.  No additions.

Just plain pound cake.

How perfect when I found out that Lissa’s birthday was on January 5th.

So I have become more generous with my pound cake.

I think Ma-Ma would have wanted it that way.  Ma-Ma, who cooked thousands of cookies each year for VBS at her church, would have wanted nothing more than for me to share HER birthday pound cake with a friend.

This year my mom happened to be at my house when I cooked Ma-Ma’s birthday pound cake.

So, I sent her home with a piece to take to my sister and my Aunt, who like me still shed tears each January 7th because we miss our Ma-Ma.

As I cut and packaged up each piece of pound cake I couldn’t help but think of the legacy that we leave behind long after we are gone from this earth.

Though my friend Lissa never met my Ma-Ma, her life was touched by Ma-Ma.

Not only does she get a piece of her birthday cake each year, but I have no doubt that I have always been surrounded by amazing Christian friends because Ma-Ma taught my mom to pray without ceasing.

My mom always told me one of her daily prayers for me was that I would be surrounded by Christian friends who would be a source of wisdom, encouragement, and joy in my life.

For the past five years, Lissa has been just that to me.

So, thank you Ma-Ma.  Thank you for your pound cake.   Thank you for teaching my mom to pray.  I have no doubt that because of the prayers, I have always been surrounded by amazing friends in my life.

One of the reasons I do not like baking...I have never learned how NOT to make a mess

One of the reasons I do not like baking…I have never learned how NOT to make a mess

Before Ma-Ma went to be with Jesus, my cousin typed up all Ma-Ma's recipes.   It was a difficult task.  The recipes were not on paper, but in Ma-Ma's head.  She did a great job interpreting "a little of this, a dash of that"

Before Ma-Ma went to be with Jesus, my cousin typed up all Ma-Ma’s recipes. It was a difficult task. The recipes were not on paper, but in Ma-Ma’s head. She did a great job interpreting “a little of this, a dash of that”

Cream together shortening, eggs, and sugar

Cream together shortening, eggs, and sugar

Pour in the butter milk

Pour in the buttermilk.  In any other recipe that calls for buttermilk, I just sour milk with a tablespoon of vinegar.  I have never risked the taste of my pound cake….if it didn’t work the same I would be distraught.

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Transfer the dry ingredients into the wet.

Transfer the dry ingredients into the wet.

Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Don't forget to butter and flour the pan.  Or cheat and use baking spray.  I invested in a Pampered Chef bundt cake pan and it is one of my favorite pans.  I even have a pinterest board just for Bundt cakes...though I've never actually baked any of the cakes I have pinned.

Don’t forget to butter and flour the pan. Or cheat and use baking spray. I invested in a Pampered Chef bundt cake pan and it is one of my favorite pans. I even have a Pinterest board just for Bundt cakes…though I’ve never actually baked any of the cakes I have pinned.

Transfer to the pan.  I have a terrible oven.  My best advice is to watch the cake.  i like the outside crisp and the inside moist.  In my oven it takes about an hour at 350 to get it that way....Not sure what a normal oven would do!

Transfer to the pan. I have a terrible oven. My best advice is to watch the cake. I like the outside crisp and the inside moist. In my oven it takes about an hour at 350 to get it that way….Not sure what a normal oven would do!

Ma-Ma would be proud of me sharing my cake.

Ma-Ma would be proud of me sharing my cake.

This was the "Party in a bag" I took to Lissa.  My waist line is thankful that I found someone to share the pound cake with.

This was the “Party in a bag” I took to Lissa. My waist line is thankful that I found someone to share the pound cake with.

This was my birthday present from Lissa last year.  Yep.  She has a woodshop. Her talent is a little sickening...

This was my birthday present from my friend Lissa last year. Yep. She has a wood shop. Her talent is a little sickening…

These three things tell the story of Ma-Ma in my life.

These three things tell the story of Ma-Ma in my life.

The last piece of pound cake.  Both kids wanted it...I did pinch them off a piece before I indulged.

The last piece of pound cake. Both kids wanted it…I did pinch them off a piece before I indulged.

Every time I talk about Ma-Ma, Caleb asks if he can have peanut butter and syrup for breakfast....another memory I have of summer's at Ma-Ma's

Every time I talk about Ma-Ma, Caleb asks if he can have peanut butter and syrup for breakfast….another memory I have of summer’s at Ma-Ma’s

Give Away!!!  My friend, Lissa, is the Children’s Worship Leader at our church.  You MUST go listen to one of my favorite songs, Rain Down, that my friend Lissa wrote and recorded.    And I know Christmas is past, but her Christmas CD was my kids favorite  this year.  You should purchase it and have a great surprise awaiting your kids next Christmas.

I happen to have bought an extra copy and want to give it away.  Thought I would do a fun give away…never done one of these.  So…..

If you would be interested in Lissa’s Christmas CD…Just leave a comment on here.  This isn’t a fancy give away.  Sometime soon I will put names in a hat and let Joe draw…I’ll let you know if you win and I will mail it to ya!  Merry Christmas…11 months early.

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