Great-Grandmother's Poundcake-MainPhoto

Great-Grandmother's Poundcake-MainPhoto
Everyone has a favorite family recipe. The mere thought of that dish makes your mouth water and your memories flow. For me, it’s my Great-Grandmother Wiwa’s poundcake recipe, otherwise known as la panetela de Wiwa. It’s a basic yellow cake recipe best eaten the day after it’s made so the cake has a chance to dry out a bit.  The cake is eaten plain or topped with a scoop of ice cream, but it’s never frosted.

In my family, if you receive a panetela you feel very special, because you know someone took the time to make it for you. The exchange of a special recipe isn’t exclusive to the Castro family. As a whole, Hispanics tend to show their love and affection by preparing a recipe from scratch. For my family, this cake communicates love and a way of remaining to our past.

Wiwa’s panetela recipe keeps her memory fresh in my heart and, most importantly, our family connected. I’m sure she could never have imagined the ultimate significance of that recipe, but luckily for us, she liked to bake. What’s your family’s most nostaglic recipe?

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2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups cake flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TSP salt
1 cup milk
1 TSP vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 9”x 13” baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of standing mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, another 3 minutes.  Stop machine and scrape down bowl as necessary.
  4. Whisk cake flour, baking powder and salt together in bowl.
  5. Combine milk and vanilla extract in liquid measuring cup.  With mixer on medium speed, add 1/4 flour mixture, ¼ milk mixture.  Continue alternating between two mixtures until both have been added to batter.  Beat for 30 seconds to fully combine the batter, but don’t over mix.
  6. Pour cake batter evenly into prepared baking dish.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted into center comes out clean and top of cake is golden brown.
  8. Allow cake to cool in the pan completely, about 30 minutes.