The South is known for its lilting drawl, its hospitality, and its food. Every city, state and region of the South has its own delicious specialties.
This simple cake is one that can be found across the entire southern United States, probably brought by immigrants from Eastern Europe. As the name suggests, old-fashioned sugar cake is a simple sweet, vanilla-scented cake similar to a pound cake but usually baked in a cast-iron skillet.
A dusting of powdered sugar is the classic finishing touch for this easy dessert. If you want to dress it up a bit, try using a powdered sugar and milk glaze. Add a handful of chopped toasted pecans or shredded coconut to make it even more distinctive.
Old-fashioned sugar cake
40 to 45 minutes
50 to 55 minutes
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 350 F, and grease and flour a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and milk, beating it for about three minutes. Add the vanilla and mix it in.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add the dry ingredients, one-third at a time, mixing between additions, until smooth.
Add the egg whites and mix just to incorporate them.
Transfer the batter to the prepared skillet, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove it from the oven, and let cool in the skillet on a wire rack for at least an hour before dusting with powdered sugar, slicing into wedges and serving.