Pound Cake From a Box?

True pound cake is a decadent delicacy. A pound each of butter, eggs, sugar and flour -- with an underlying hint of citrus, vanilla or even almond, depending on the recipe you use -- blended heavily together to create a cake that seems to weigh as much as a small child, but with a lightly crispy, almost crunchy exterior that gives way to a moist interior so rich you don't even need frosting.

Of course, all this decadence comes with a price: your arteries. We only eat pound cake these days when our little old Meemo makes it, which is about twice a year. But we still have that craving, causing us to look wistfully at the store-made pound cakes in Kroger that you know aren't any better for you and, in fact, cost more than making it yourself. It's a sad sort of craving, like the one River Oaks housewives must have for a carrot stick dipped in something other than carefully concealed self-loathing.

Browsing idly and slowly through the grocery store a few days ago (one of our all-time favorite hobbies, although the people at Randall's or H-E-B always think that we're irretrievably lost or simply stupid), we picked up a box of Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe classic yellow cake, more out of curiosity for what was in the ingredients list than anything else. Turning it to one side, we saw instead a recipe for pound cake.

We were intrigued.

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Katharine Shilcutt