Food history buffs say pound cakes, as written recipes, date back to the early 1700s. The name "pound cake" simply described the recipe: a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Such a cake would have been large and could have served multiple families.
Over time, the portions of the ingredients were adjusted to make a smaller, lighter cake. However, the name stuck.
Today we see all kinds of blends and flavors of pound cakes, but an old-fashioned, buttery pound cake never goes out of style and is worth keeping in the recipe box. This cake still feeds bunches -- 20 servings, in fact. So it would be perfect for a summer cookout, picnic or family reunion.
Because it is "plain," there's no icing or filling that will melt in the summer heat. It also freezes well, so if you have leftovers, you can wrap up cake quarters to pull out weeks later.
I love my pound cake topped with the fresh and bright flavor of Minted Strawberries. And with a dollop of whipped cream, your plain cake is elevated to a beautiful and elegant dessert.
• Alicia Ross is the co-author of the "Desperation Dinners!" cookbook series. Write her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or firstname.lastname@example.org. More at the Kitchen Scoop website, kitchenscoop.com.