The Old-Fashioned $5 Dessert I Always Have in My Freezer (It’s Been Beloved for Nearly 75 Years!)

published Jun 22, 2024
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Frozen food aisle of grocery store
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Fried pound cake. The concept is almost as simple as toasting a piece of bread in a skillet, but the flavor is far more complex. First of all, it has to be store-bought pound cake. The delicate crumb of the homemade version doesn’t hold up well to frying. 

Sara Lee’s Classic Pound Cake, found in the grocery freezer aisle, is easy to keep on hand and returns to room temperature in 15 minutes. It’s also solid enough to form a crust when it hits bubbling butter in a hot pan. 

Credit: Mara Weinraub

Most of us probably have some special childhood memory revolving around Sara Lee desserts. For me, the pound cake shines brightest. If I think about summer nights, when we stayed up way too late and my mom allowed us all the treats we could stomach, a fried slab of that freezer cake is front and center. I loved standing at her side while it cooked, the scent of caramelizing crumbs attaching itself to memories of summer vacation. 

To this day, my freezer has a dedicated spot for its sleek silver tin once the warm weather hits.

Credit: Danielle Deavens

What’s So Great About Sara Lee Classic Pound Cake?

As a card-carrying member of the Semi-Homemade Cooks Club (which is not at all a real thing, but should be!), my favorite thing about Sara Lee’s frozen pound cake is the combination of quality and convenience. If you keep this cake in your freezer, you’re never more than 15 minutes away from indulging when the need for a sweet bite inevitably presents itself.

On the whole, store-bought pound cake is a blank canvas upon which the simplest showstopping desserts are created. The Sara Lee version has all the buttery, rich vanilla flavor you want in a pound cake. Plus it’s easy to cut into while frozen, so you’re covered whether you need sweets for the whole family or just want one slice. 

Credit: Mara Weinraub

What’s the Best Way to Use Sara Lee Classic Pound Cake?

Top with whipped cream, crumble it into a trifle, make a shortcut poke cake — the possibilities for this pound cake are endless.

Unsurprisingly, my favorite way to make Sara Lee pound cake is to fry it. Disclaimer: This isn’t the battered, deep-fried stuff you get at a state fair. This method yields a delicate slice and is more akin to toasting bread in a skillet.

All you need is a pat of butter in a small pan. Once it begins to melt across the metal, add your pound cake slice and the rest is magic. In a few minutes, it’ll develop a golden-brown crust. If you’re like me, you’ll want to fry it on both sides, so add another pat of butter and flip. 

As my cake is cooking, I usually prepare my favorite toppings: vanilla bean ice cream and sugared strawberries. Layer everything in a dish or on a plate while the cake is still warm — not that your taste buds could wait for it to cool. 

Credit: Mara Weinraub

Take a bite and enjoy as that initial crunch of the outside gives way to a soft, cakey center. This pan-seared slice is the superior vessel for strawberry shortcake or an alternative to peach cobbler — macerated fruit doesn’t bleed into the cake until your fork drops through for the first bite, and its warmth creates a syrup of fruity juice and melty ice cream. If you ask me, this is what the season’s best fruits were made for.

Buy: Sara Lee Classic Pound Cake, $4.74 for 16 ounces at Walmart

What store-bought desserts are you stocking in your freezer for summer? Tell us about it in the comments below.

This is part of The Summer of Lazy Baking, featuring our easiest-ever recipes and grocery store hacks for making this the most delicious summer ever.