Fresh & Fluffy Sun Drop Pound Cake


When you’re a kid growing up in the American South, you have the opportunity to contribute to shelves full of cookbooks. Your schools, churches, civic organizations and other community groups constantly compile and release volumes of recipes. At least that was true back in the 1980s and 1990s when I navigated grade school in western North Carolina.

Recently my mom introduced my wife Molly to a “Springfield Specialties” cookbook produced by my first elementary school, Springfield in Stanley, N.C. Children and their parents submitted recipes for the book, which was accompanied by student drawings of food and kitchen implements.

Cookbook Cover

Molly gravitated to the dessert sections of the cookbook, and she ultimately landed on a Sun Drop Pound Cake to make and sample first. Sun Drop has always been somewhat of a preferred drink on both sides of our family, particularly for our dads, so it seemed a natural choice to bake into a cake.


Here’s the Sun Drop Pound Cake recipe, straight from the book:

Sun Drop Cake Recipe

We discovered that the Sun Drop flavor is actually pretty subtle in this recipe. The impact of the cake flour it recommends is much more profound! Molly and I had neither one baked with cake flour previously, and we learned in this experiment that it produces a fluffy, spongy cake that is quite delightful in texture and flavor, much different than the result of regular baking flour options!


Our small town grocery stores didn’t offer many options for cake flour, so you might have to look closely or ask what’s available. I found this box hiding on a top shelf, the only one of its kind.

Adding the glaze over the hot cake leads to a very sweet, satisfying confection that we recommend you sample as soon as you make it for the best experience possible! We also found that, like many pound cakes, this Sun Drop Pound Cake pairs quite nicely with your favorite vanilla ice cream for an extra special treat.

As a #FoodieScore Pro Tip I learned from my parents during my childhood, you can rejuvenate slices of cake after it’s several days old by cutting hunks and toasting them lightly in a toaster oven or conventional oven. A slightly browned piece of pound cake with freshly and slightly melted icing is a nice surprise when you expect it to become much drier as it sits. The method really preserves cake nicely!


Thank you to my elementary schoolmate Marinda Teague and her family for sharing the recipe all those years ago. When the Springfield cookbook debuted in 1991, my wife had just been born. The experience of baking the cake together is a reminder of the timeless beauty of cookbooks, family and community recipes, and food that connects generations of people.

Chocolate Syrup Pound Cake

This delicious chocolate cake recipe came from a news story I did as a reporter for The Star. A couple in Shelby turned their grandmother Nell’s old home into Nell’s Farm House, a place for quiet, country lodging near Shelby and Gardner-Webb University. Included in your stay is access to some of Nell’s amazingly unique recipes, like this Chocolate Syrup Pound Cake.

I was very excited to make it, mainly because of the unique ingredient of chocolate syrup, as opposed to using the more traditional ingredient: cocoa. I wanted to see how it changed the flavor and texture. So how was it? The flavor is delicious, and the texture, dense. It is a pound cake after all. But let me tell you this – its chocolate-y taste does not need icing.


2 sticks butter

1/2 cup Crisco

3 cups sugar

3 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Dash of salt

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lb. can chocolate syrup


1. Cream the butter, Crisco and sugar. Beat well.

2. Add eggs, one at a time.

3. Add chocolate syrup and vanilla.

Choc syrup pound cake 1

4. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

5. Mix the dry mixture into the chocolate mixture, alternating with adding the milk.

6. Pour into a buttered and floured Bundt cake pan.

Choc syrup pound cake 3

7. Start in a cold oven. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. Do not open the door for one hour.

Choc syrup pound cake 4

Molly’s take: I love the different taste you get using chocolate syrup in this cake. It makes it a little richer and more chocolate-y than if you had used cocoa. I also love that, unlike most pound cake recipes, this one truly is delicious enough not to need icing or frosting. Definitely one I’ll try again! Maybe with a tall glass of milk…

Matthew’s take: A thick slice of this cake and a glass of milk is the perfect pairing for a delicious dessert or snack. I believe the chocolate syrup makes the cake more moist than cocoa does, and I think that moisture helped keep the cake from getting dry after a few days. But we also didn’t have to worry about the cake getting dry because it was so good that it didn’t sit around for long. If you want a solid cake that stands alone, try this recipe.

Heavenly Butterscotch Pie

Butterscotch Edited 2

For me, finding a new pie recipe is kind of like finding treasure. It’s never guarded by a dragon, unless you count the oven; it’s a fairly easy conquest; and the reward at the end is always worth the effort.

This time, I was entranced by a Butterscotch Pie recipe found in the First United Methodist Church of Stanley’s “Lilies of the Field” cookbook. You know the kind, one of those old-timey, spiral-bound cookbooks filled with tried and true delectable delights. This delight was no disappointment.

The pie is light and airy, with a whipped feel that doesn’t quite approach custard. This is due to the final step of folding in the whipped egg whites before baking. It certainly has a delicious buttery, butterscotch taste that I never would’ve believed was this easy to create. Without further ado, the Butterscotch Pie, which I have aptly delineated “Heavenly.”


1 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups milk, scalded

3 eggs, separated

3 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. vanilla


1. Pre-bake the pie shell at 375 degrees until golden brown.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk, in the top of a non-stick pot.

3. Scald the milk in the microwave (I find this easier than scalding on the stove), by cooking for about 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on it, because it will easily boil over in your microwave.

4. Gradually stir in the milk into the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

Butterscotch Pie 2

5. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until thickened.

Butterscotch Pie 3

6. Beat the 3 egg yolks until foamy. Add a few spoonfuls of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and stir. Then add the yolks to the pudding mixture. (This is very important so the mixture doesn’t cook the egg yolks.)

7. Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

8. Add butter and vanilla.

9. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the pudding mix.

10. Pour into the already-baked pie shell and bake for 10 minutes (at the same temperature as you baked the pie shell, 375) until light, golden brown.

11. Enjoy!

Butterscotch Pie 5
Molly’s Take: I don’t think I’ve ever had such a light, airy, sweet dessert as this Butterscotch Pie. It truly delights with its warm, brown sugar, butterscotch taste and the smooth texture created by the combination of the whipped egg whites and pudding. I’ll definitely keep this one on tap as one of my go-to sweet pie recipes. It truly is a praiseworthy pie!

Matthew’s Take: I’ve had all kinds of custard pies. And I’ve had a few butterscotch-filling desserts that my mom has made over the years. This Butterscotch Pie is different than all of them. It has a very tasty and unique texture that, as Molly said, isn’t quite custard. It’s not quite pudding either. The top also offers a different consistency than the tops of most pies. It has what appears to be an ever-so-thin crust on top. There’s an interesting combination of light and richness with this pie that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced. It’s a nice choice for a different option for a simple, light and satisfying dessert.

Light, Sweet & Creamy Egg Custard Pie

If you search for an egg custard pie recipe on Pinterest, you’ll have a hard time finding a good, old-fashioned recipe that includes a crust. When I first searched for a recipe, years before Pinterest was a thing, online recipes were mostly just egg custards. There was no pie shell – you know, the part that makes it a pie. I had a hard time, but I finally found this recipe.

It’s one I’ve stuck with for years, because it turns out delicious every time. It won’t be cakey and it won’t look bubbly on top; it’ll be a smooth, creamy custard inside a perfectly baked pie shell. And! I’ll also share a few tricks to fix two problems that I’ve ran into with custard pies before. Those are: burnt pie crust on the top, and pie crust getting soggy on the bottom/not staying on the bottom where it should be. (I’ve had an egg custard once where the pie crust melded with the pie, floating up during baking. You don’t want that.) Here we go!


1 deep dish pie crust

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups milk

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 egg white (for brushing the crust)


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Beat the eggs in a small container, then mix eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla well. Slowly blend in milk. If it looks a little frothy, like in the photo below, that’s okay! photo 3
  3. Brush the inside of the pie shell with one egg white – this prevents the pie filling and the shell from melding together and either getting a) soggy or b) mixed together like a messy cobbler.
  4. photo 2Pour into the pie shell. You will definitely want a deep dish shell, because this old-timey recipe makes a lot of pie filling! And those “regular” pie shells have certainly gotten smaller over the years. Sprinkle the top with a little 1 (2)
  5. Bake for at least 45 minutes, then cover it with a sheet of tin foil. Then, continue to check the pie at intervals of 15 minutes. The tin foil is the trick to keep the top crust from burning. (As you can see in the photo below, I didn’t do this early enough, but it did stop the crust from getting any darker.)

So when is the pie done? It’s tough to tell with an egg custard. Most people tell you to shake it, but an egg custard will always will be wiggly. Here’s my method: with a towel or oven mitt, pick up the pie on the right side and tilt it slightly to the left. If the entire middle of the pie moves to the edge and looks like it’s going to pour right out of the pie – it’s not done. But – if the middle is holding together and the pie has been cooking for more than an hour, it’s done. Here’s what it should look like. 🙂

photo 3 (1)

Molly’s take: I hadn’t made an egg custard in a while, so I was nervous about making it as part of an anniversary gift for my husband’s parents. When it came out of the oven (finally!) and we tried a small slice to make sure it tasted right, it was absolutely delightful. My only regret is not making two so we could have eaten the other one! Is this pie easy? Sure, it’s easy to mix up the ingredients and put it in the oven. But it takes a while to make a good egg custard pie. Remember, you’re cooking a lot of eggs and milk into something relatively solid. And you have to put tin foil on the pie to keep it from burning. And you have to check it often. But the end result is absolutely worth it. Now it’s time for me to go make another one…

Matthew’s take: The egg custard is a pie I’ve rarely seen among others at church and other social gatherings over the years. But the egg custard pie is a long-standing tradition in the Tessnear family. It goes back at least as far as my dad’s grandmother on his mother’s side. I grew up eating my mother’s egg custard pies, and this edition was as creamy and tasty as any egg custard pie I’ve ever eaten. Don’t expect to fill up your stomach with an egg custard pie slice. Egg custard is not about quantity. It’s about consistency and taste. The lightness of it makes it a great dessert option following a heavy and filling meal. I give the egg custard pie an A+ for taste, but I would warn you that it’s not the easiest pie to make if you’re not patient, and it will never be the prettiest pie you’ve ever seen from a bright colors standpoint. But you’ll love this pie if you enjoy light desserts and trying a recipe you rarely find on the table.