3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
12 ounces salted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the boiled custard:
8 cups whole milk
1½ cups sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
5 large eggs
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a tube pan with non-fluted sides and dust it with flour, shaking off any excess.
Sift four cups of flour, then measure out three cups. Add the baking soda to the three cups sifted flour, sift the mixture twice, and set it aside. Slowly cream the butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer. Add the eggs and mix well. Mix in the sour cream. Add the flour mixture one cup at a time, beating well as you add each cup. Mix in the vanilla. Pour into the prepared tube pan.
Bake the pound cake for one hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes but not more than 20. Run a flat metal spatula around the edges of the pan, prying the cake from the pan, and turn it out onto the rack. Turn it back over so that the pretty top side of cake is upright and place it on the serving cake stand or plate.
To make the boiled custard:
Bring water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler over medium heat. The water should not boil and it should not touch the bottom of the top insert. Add the milk to the top insert and heat it over the bottom until steaming but not boiling, about 15 minutes.
While the milk is heating, prepare an ice bath of equal parts ice and water in the sink.
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl and mix well. Whisk in the eggs. Ladle in one cup of the hot milk and whisk well to temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling.
Pour this mixture back into remaining hot milk in the double boiler and whisk. Cook the custard, stirring frequently, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the custard to a heatproof container, place the container in the ice bath, and stir the custard frequently until it cools to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for up to five days in the refrigerator.