Janelle McComb, who was Elvis’s friend from the time he was a lad in Tupelo, Mississippi, used to bake two loaves of this cake every Christmas and bring them to Graceland. On a good day, Elvis could eat one all by himself. He shared the other with his entourage. And Ms. McComb shared the recipe with us. It is, hands down, the best pound cake ever — one of the most popular dessert recipes printed in Gourmet magazine.
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened, plus additional for buttering the pan
3 cups sifted cake flour (NOT self-rising)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
7 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
Do NOT preheat the oven.
Sift together the sifted flour and salt. Repeat, sifting into another bowl.
Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce beating speed to low and add half the flour, all the cream, then remaining flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat at medium-high speed a full 5 minutes. Batter should be satin-smooth and creamy.
Spoon the batter into a pan, tapping it well as you add to eliminate any air bubbles.
Place the pan in a cold oven and turn the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake 1 to 1-1/4 hours, or until a knife comes out mostly clean.
Cool cake in pan 30 minutes.
Run a thin knife around the inner and outer edges of the cake, then put a rack over the pan and invert cake onto rack. Cool completely.
Covered well, this cake keeps 4-5 days.