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Pound cakes have been baked in our ovens for centuries. There is that old story about “a pound of flour, pound of butter, pound of eggs, pound of sugar.” Along the way, modifications occurred and an English standard was to include some brandy in the cake. Here, this recipe coming from Kentucky, bourbon abounds: in the cake itself, in the glaze that makes it so shiny in the picture above and in the sauce atop the cake in the picture below.

While there are many lovely pound cake recipes, this one has some special features. First, it is not a vanilla cake. This is an orange cake with zest and juice used. Second, the preparation here is different. Rather than just beat the eggs, they are separated and the whipped whites are later folded into the yolky batter. Does this step make a difference? Yes. The crumb is tight and the cake dense to the fork but giving to your tooth. It’s a great cake.

And the source of this recipe? Where else but from Around the Southern Table by Sarah Belk. All the bourbon makes it very Kentuckian. The orange makes it quite Southern. And the cake itself can be enjoyed anywhere in the country.

One note, I found in making the sauce and glaze than 1 ½ cups of apricot jam was not enough to get the liquid I needed. You may want to go with a full 2 cups of jam. Try to find one that does not have fruit pieces inside but that is “all jelly.”

Click here to see our review of Around the Southern Table.

Bourbon Orange Pound Cake with Bourbon Glaze and Orange-Apricot Sauce

Yield: serves 8-10


For the cake:

  • ½ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 2 ½ cups self-rising cake flour
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges
  • ¼ cup good-quality bourbon

For the glaze:

  • 1 ½ cups apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice {use the zested oranges from the cake recipe)

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup strained apricot jam, reserved from making glaze
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon


Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In another bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and pale in color. Add to the butter mixture and mix well. Sift flour (or flour plus baking powder and salt) over the batter and stir it in along with orange zest and bourbon, taking care not to overmix.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into batter. Butter a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Pour in the batter and bake 50 to 55 minutes or until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Meanwhile, to make bourbon glaze: In a saucepan, heat jam until simmering. Simmer 1 minute and strain. Reserve 1 cup strained jam for the sauce. To remaining jam, add orange juice and bourbon and set aside to pour over cake just after baking.

To make sauce: In a bowl mix the 1 cup reserved strained jam with orange juice and bourbon. Taste, and add more juice or bourbon if desired.

As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, poke holes in the top with the tines of a fork. Pour half the glaze over the cake. Let stand 5 minutes and pour on remaining glaze. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Slice and serve on a pool of sauce or drizzle sauce over the cake.

Enjoy the cake warm or cooled, by itself or adorned with whipped cream or ice cream. If using whipped cream, consider giving it a bourbon kick using booze instead of vanilla. An intense French vanilla ice cream would be an ideal complement.


Source: Around the Southern Table by Sarah Belk [Simon and Schuster, 1991]

Photo Information [top]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑400