Pound cake is a classic in any baker's recipe repertoire. It's perfect for most occasions—picnics, parties, and brunch— and it can be enjoyed any time of year. As a bonus, it keeps well so you can easily make it ahead of time, then slice and serve when you're ready. And this recipe is so easy: One bowl and five ingredients are all you need!
Why it's called 'pound cake'
Pound cake is an "equal-ratio" cake. In fact, that's where the name "pound cake" comes from! The original pound cake recipe required exactly one pound each of granulated sugar, flour, unsalted butter, and eggs. While you won't need a full pound of each for this recipe, the ingredients for this recipe for traditional pound cake haven't been altered too much; just enough to make a nicely balanced cake that fits nicely in a loaf pan. Many pound cake recipes call for cake flour, but all-purpose flour works just fine here. Baking powder is also used to work its leavening magic in the baking process.
Pound cake variations
Pound cake is wonderful on its own, but you can jazz up your dessert plate by topping it with berries and whipped cream or diced apples, depending on the season. Ice cream also makes an excellent sidekick. Or you can frost your cake, dust it with powdered sugar, or lightly drizzle it with a glaze before serving to make it your own.
If you regularly make pound cake, it's sometimes fun to mix it up and try something new. While this is a basic pound cake recipe, you can customize it with the following variations to add different dimensions of flavor. Here are a few ideas to consider and play with for a different pound cake experience:
Vanilla Pound Cake: Add 2 tsp. of vanilla extract to the batter. You can also make a vanilla glaze by whisking together 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. of water and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Pour it over the cake while it's still warm.
Lemon Pound Cake: Add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice or 1 tsp. lemon extract to the batter. Make a lemon glaze for your pound cake by whisking together 1/3 cup of lemon juice with 1/3 cup of sugar until completely dissolved. Pour it over the cake while it's still warm and top with lemon zest.
Almond Pound Cake: Add 2 tsp. of almond extract to the batter. You can make an almond glaze for your cake by whisking together 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 Tbsp. of water and 1 tsp. almond extract. Pour it over the cake while it's still warm.
Cornmeal Pound Cake: Replace half the all-purpose flour called for in this recipe with finely ground cornmeal.
Rum Pound Cake: Add 2 tsp. of rum extract to the batter. Make a rum glaze for your pound cake by heating 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup rum, and 1/4 cup water over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and drizzle over the cake while it's still warm.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake: Replace half of the butter called for in this recipe with cream cheese.
Sour Cream Pound Cake: Replace half of the butter called for in this recipe with sour cream.
To serve and serve again
To prevent it from drying out, store leftover pound cake in an airtight container. Be sure that it is completely cool before placing it into the container. Stored pound cake will keep for several days at room temperature, up to one week when refrigerated, or up to two months when frozen.
- 1 cup salted butter (softened)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the ingredients together on medium speed for 1 minute, or until smooth. Add the eggs, and continue to beat for a minute more, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl. Beat the mixture on low until it becomes a smooth, thick batter.
- Use a rubber spatula to transfer the batter into the loaf pan.
- Transfer the pan to the middle rack of the preheated oven.
- Bake the cake for 75-85 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes.
- To release the cake, run a butter knife between the edge of the cake and the pan. Turn the cake onto a large plate.
- Allow the cake to cool for 1-2 hours before slicing and serving.
PER SERVING *
|Calories290Calories from Fat150|
|% DAILY VALUE*|
|Calories from Fat150|
|% DAILY VALUE*|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.