2021 Pound of Love Bake-Off Champions

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Did you know that the origins of pound cake lie in Northern Europe and date back to the early 18th century? Initially, the traditional pound cake weighed four pounds and included a pound each of butter, flour, sugar and eggs. Originally, no leaveners were used in the cake except for the air whipped into the batter. It was only in the 1900s that artificial leaveners like baking soda and baking powder were added to reduce the density of the cake.

Youth in Swain County participated in this pound cake science when they picked up grab-and-go kits from the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Swain County office that included several common ingredients to kick start their pound cake baking skills in order to enter into the ‘Pound of Love’ Bake off. The kits included a mini bundt pan in order for them to create a smaller portion for the judges to taste. All entries were made from scratch. Entries were judged based on shape, volume, texture, color, and flavor.

Pound cakes

Overall Best in Show
Darien Vaughn: Chocolate Pound Cake with Special Topping and
1st Place Senior  – Flavored with Glaze

Category Winners

  • Plain
    Junior - 1st Place: Makaela Breedlove
  • Plain with Glaze
    Junior - 1st Place: Carden Oetting
  • Flavored
    Junior - 1st Place: Preslyn Loftis, Butter Pecan
    Junior  – 2nd Place: Betsy Marley, Chocolate
  • Flavored with Glaze
    Senior - 1st Place: Darien Vaughn, Chocolate w/topping
    Senior – 2nd Place: Kaylan Cochran, Lemon 
    Senior  – 3rd Place: Micah Sasscer, Gingerbread
    Senior  - 4th Place: Abi Sasscer, ChocolateJunior  - 1st Place Tie: Campbell Wegenka, Mixed Berry
    Junior  – 1st Place Tie: Reagyn Cochran, Pineapple 
    Junior  – 2nd Place: Elise Sasscer, Chocolate Chip
    Junior  - 3rd Place: Eva Sasscer, Strawberry
  • Flavored with Icing
    Junior - 1st Place: Gabriella Sasscer, Mint
  • STAR Cloverbuds
    Breckyn Cochran, Strawberry with Glaze
    Ezra & Ayla Sasscer, Vanilla with Icing
    Cash Wegenka, Lemon with Glaze

If you have an interest in Swain County 4-H please contact Kyla-Jo Farmer at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Swain County Center at (828) 488-3848 or email kyla-jo_farmer@ncsu.edu.

Chocolate Pound Cake w/Special Topping

Chocolate Pound Cake with Special Topping

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Caramel ice cream syrup
  • Toffee bits
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan with butter.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa together. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream the 1 cup butter, the shortening, and the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one a time, beating well after each addition. With the motor running, add the flour mixture and the milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the vanilla.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cake; it should come out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Top with caramel syrup, toffee bits, and chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.