"Nothing beats this cake's rich, buttery flavor," says the author of Secrets of the Southern Table.

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“Nothing beats this cake’s rich, buttery flavor,” says the author of Secrets of the Southern Table.

Virginia Willis’ Buttermilk Pound Cake with Roasted Strawberries

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp., plus pinch of finely ground sea salt, divided
1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
3 cups, plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 vanilla bean pods, divided
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)
1 cup whole buttermilk, room temperature
1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Generously grease and flour a 16-cup Bundt pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Place butter and 3 cups sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Split 1 vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise, and scrape seeds into batter. Add lemon zest, and beat on low speed. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, stopping to scrape down sides of mixing bowl as needed. Beat on low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. (It should be no more than two-thirds full.)

3. Place pan on middle rack of oven, and bake until cake is golden brown and pulls away from sides of pan, and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool 10 minutes in pan. Invert cake onto rack to cool completely, about 2 hours.

4. Increase oven temperature to 425º. Split remaining vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise, and scrape seeds from 1 half into a large bowl. (Reserve remaining pod half for another use.) Add strawberries, pinch of salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar; toss together. Spread in a single layer in a large glass baking dish. Roast until juices are bubbling and strawberries are softened, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

5. Slice cake into wedges; serve slices topped with roasted strawberries.

Serves: 12
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, plus cooling time

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