Once upon a time, in an oven far, far away, there was a bundt cake happily baking away. This little cake was excitedly looking forward to the joy he would bring to those that consumed him. He had been told he would be moist, sweet and buttery.
The cake had been assembled with care; his batter fluffy and a gorgeous shade of yellow. His creator had lovingly spread him into a well-buttered and floured bundt pan. As he began to feel the warmth reach his core, he knew that his outer skin would be light and crunchy by the time he was finished baking. His baker had also told him that he was so delicious on his own, he didn’t need any frosting. Perhaps a few pieces of fruit for decoration, but he was the true star of the show.
After what seemed like forever the little cake heard the oven timer buzzing. “Oh, it’s time! I’m done!” he yelled from inside the oven. As if he had been heard, he felt a gust of cool air as he was lifted out of the oven and set upon a rack to cool before being ready to assume his perch on the porcelain cake plate he saw in the center of the kitchen island.
Somewhat impatiently the cake waited for the timer to count down. Finally, he heard it buzz and before he could utter a word, he felt himself lifted up and turned over onto the cake plate. Still feeling the warmth of his metal bed, he was anticipating his impending freedom. Gently his baker began to lift the bundt pan off of his outer layer. Just when the cake thought he would be free, he felt a little air on his outer edges, but then a little air in his middle as well. He felt like he had lost a few pieces of himself, but he wasn’t worried by it at all. The feeling was odd, but not painful. Much like a person feels when the top layer of a blister is peeled off a heel.
The cake heard the baker gasp. “She must be marveling at my beauty!” Prepared to be greeted with applause, the cake was dismayed when all he heard were muffled tears.
“I don’t know what I did wrong. I followed the directions to a T,” he heard the baker say. Puzzled by this statement, the cake looked around for a mirror. Finding his reflection in the microwave oven, he was so startled by what he saw that he almost jumped off the cake plate. “Oh no! I’m ghastly! My skin is all splotchy and half of my golden, crispy crust is still in the pan.
The little cake was ashamed. How could he be so ugly? He had been assured he would be the best cake the world had ever seen. And now, here he was, looking like a leper. His skin clinging to the cake pan, mocking him.
Just as he felt all was lost, he heard the man that lived with the baker come into the kitchen. He watched as the man picked a piece of his crust out of the pan and took a bite. As the man chewed, he saw a smile begin at the edges of his eyes and then grow to include his entire face. “Honey, that’s the best cake you’ve ever baked.”
“How can it be? It’s so…so…ugly. It looks like a cake that suffers from leprosy. I’ll never be able to put this on the Thanksgiving dessert table,” the baker declared.
“Good! Then I don’t have to share it. Here, try it. You’ll see. It’s incredible.”
Tentatively the baker peeled a piece of the cake’s crust from the pan and popped it in her mouth. She was immediately glad she had done so. The crust was crispy and buttery and the small piece of inner cake that had clung to the piece of crust was moist and delicious. It was the best thing she had ever eaten in her life.
Smiling at the man, the baker now beamed with pride. “It’s not much to look at, but that’s a dang good cake!”
The little bundt cake couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He had been afraid he was hideous and worthless. Doomed to a life in the trash bin, not filling tummies with joy. A wave of relief washed over him as he knew he was a masterpiece, destined to bring joy to many. Or at least the two people in the kitchen with him.
Little did the cake know at the time, but his recipe would be passed down from generation to generation. And for those adventurous enough to look past the name of his recipe, his descendants would bring joy, satiating sweet tooths, for years to come.
And I can assure you dear reader, if you’re brave enough to look past the surface of this cake, you will be rewarded. Mightily.
Leper Cake (Golden Pound Cake)
3 cups sugar
1½ cups butter, softened
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture taking turns with the milk. Beat I the vanilla and lemon juice.
Pour into a VERY well buttered & floured bundt pan. Place in a COLD oven turn it on to 325° and bake for 1½ hours.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan and continue to cool completely on a wire rack.
It is very common for the cake to stick in the pan, thus the name.