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Stirring up memories


Sour Cream Pound Cake, Blueberry Crunch and More
June 8, 2005

Just about every time there is a function at the Eldorendo Baptist Church, they serve food.  And just about every time they serve food at the Eldorendo Baptist Church, someone is likely to come up to Irene Ethridge with the same request.

“Now, Irene.  You be sure and bring your special pound cake!”

What makes Irene’s pound cake special—other than her light touch as a cook—is not a secret.  Any one who really wants to know can find it right in the Eldorendo Baptist Church Cookbook that came out to celebrate the church’s centennial in 2000.  “A century of good cooking,” the cover proclaims. 

A few weeks ago, Linda Howard of Brinson appealed to me for recipes for a sour cream pound cake and blueberry crunch.  I passed the request on to “Stirring up memories” readers, and that very day Irene gave me a call!  She had both recipes.   And they both sound mighty good.

Sour cream pound cake

3 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

6 eggs, separated

2 teaspoons butter flavor

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 cup butter-flavored Crisco

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and set aside.   Cream the sugar and Crisco together.  Add egg yolks, on at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flavoring and beat.  Combine the flours and add alternately with the sour cream beginning and ending with flour.  Fold in the beaten egg whites.  Grease the bottom of a tube pan and pour in the batter.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.  Do not preheat the oven.

Irene gave me a couple of tips.  The baking time may vary.  Her electric oven in town takes a little longer than the gas range she had in the country at Eldorendo.  She stresses she greases only the bottom of the tube pan, not the sides. 

“You can’t climb a greasy pole,” she told me.  “And a cake can’t climb a greasy pan.”  I didn’t know that. 

Blueberry crunch

1 20-ounce can undrained crushed pineapple

2 or 3 cups blueberries—fresh or frozen

3/4 cup sugar

1 box yellow cake mix

2 sticks butter or margarine, melted

1 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup sugar

Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish and spread the following in layers:  pineapple, blueberries, 3/4 cup sugar sprinkled over the berries, dry yellow cake mix, melted margarine or butter and 1/4 cup sugar sprinkled on top.  Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until brown on top.  Serve warm or cold.  Delicious with whipped cream.


On the go

When I dropped by Irene’s house to pick up the recipes, I quickly realized that, judging from her recipe and cookbook collection, Irene excels at more than just sour cream pound cake.  She has several entries in the church’s cookbook, plus many other cookbooks, each one stuffed with her handwritten recipes garnered from friends and family.

Irene, of course, has done lots more than just cook.  She grew up in Baker County and went to the county schools.  She married young and raised a family.  After the kids got good-sized, she went to work at the Jack Winter factory where she was a seamstress for many years. 

But she decided it was time for a change.  She wanted to go to work for the State Hospital, but there was a problem.  Irene didn’t have her high school diploma.   It turned out not to be much of a problem.  After being out of school for over 30 years, Irene took herself over to Thomasville (that is where they gave the test in 1968) and took the GED test.  She pasted on her first try!

Good for you, Irene.

She went on to work for the State Hospital for 15 years before retiring in 1985.

But she did something else exciting in 1976!  After they had both raised families, Irene met Henry Ethridge, a patternmaker at Miller-Hydro (now Lynch Systems).  They combined their households, shared their grown children and had a great life until Henry died a couple of years ago.

But being alone doesn’t keep Irene down.  She’s on the go. She goes out to Eldorendo to church at least three times a week and is out and about town at other times.

“I like to go to Belk’s and plunder,” smiles this over-eighty lady.

And she cooks.  So I asked her to share some more recipes.  Here are some of her favorites.  I can’t wait to serve friends the cornmeal pie!

Cornmeal pie

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 stick melted margarine or butter

5 tablespoons evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon vinegar

2 tablespoons self-rising cornmeal

Mix in order given.  Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake in a preheated 300 degree oven until golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Corn casserole

1 small package yellow rice (5 ounces)

1 can Mexican-style corn (don’t drain)

1 cup sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup (undiluted)

1 medium chopped onion

1/2 stick margarine or butter

Mix all ingredients together.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove.  Put grated cheese on top and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.

Another cake

Irene wasn’t the only one to respond with a cake recipe.  Betty Jackson sent me a note and a slightly different version of the sour cream pound cake.

“I got this recipe from my niece back in the 70's and have been baking it ever since,” Betty e-mailed me.  Have looked in my cookbook collection and have not found this particular recipe in any of them. It is moist and delicious.

Betty’s Sour Cream Pound Cake

1 cup butter

1 pinch salt

3 cups sugar

1 pinch soda

6 egg yolks

8 oz sour cream

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon lemon flavoring

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

6 egg whites

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg yolks one at a time while mixing.  Sift flour, salt and soda and add alternately with sour cream to the butter, sugar and egg yolk mixture.  Add flavorings.  Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Fold into the cake mixture.  Pour into a well greased tube cake pan and bake at 315 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Which pound cake do you prefer?

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Trilla Pando is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance & the Story Circle Network