Pound Cake Recipe

Pound cakes haven’t changed all that much since the days of the “four quarters” cakes made with a pound each of butter, eggs, sugar and flour. That makes a hell of a big cake, and one that tends to dry out in the oven before it’s done. Modern versions are not only smaller, they’re tweaked to produce a slightly lighter product. Still you can see that there’s roughly 9 ounces of everything in here:

9 ounces (2 cups) cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
9.25 (1 1/3 cups) ounces sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and set a rack in the lower third of the oven. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Turn the the mixer up to medium high and beat for about a minute, then scrape down the sides and beat for an addition 3 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy.

With the mixer running at medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding another. Scrape the bowl once or twice in the process.

Turn the machine down to low and add the flour in a steady stream. Scrape the bowl when the flour is nearly incorporated, then stir a few seconds more until the batter is smooth. Scrape the batter into a lightly greased and floured 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

Bake on a middle rack about 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Loosen the cake with a butter knife, then invert the pan onto the rack. Remove the pan, place another rack on top of the cake and flip the whole works over. Remove the top rack and let the cake cool completely.

14 thoughts on “Pound Cake Recipe”

  1. Thanks so much, Joe

    I can’t tell you how many pound cake recipes I’ve tried that were just plain disappointing. I can’t wait to try this one but it may have to wait a week since I’ve already scheduled your Caramel Cake to be my weekend project to amaze my co-workers with on Monday.


    1. Hey Linda!

      The is a pretty basic recipe, but then basic can be quite good, no? As for the caramel cake, please do let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

  2. Oh, I loves me a good slice of pound cake! Thanks for the recipe. One of my departed great-aunts used to make a pound cake in a tube pan that was her signature cake. For *years*, my mother has tried to get it just right, and invariably comes up short. It’s usually too dense. We’ve both done research about how much (or not) to cream the butter and sugar, whether the ingredients should be a certain temperature, etc. But nothing seems to be the “magic” trick. Any insights, oh wise baker man?

    1. Hey Beth!

      To incorporate air, lots of beating is the main thing. And of course room-temperature everything…though now that I think about it the butter can be slightly cool, pliable, not greasy. But then I guess recreating her process is the main thing here. Did either of you ever see the cake made? Did she use a machine? Did she use her ingredients straight from the refrigerator? Did she have air conditioning?

      – Joe

      1. No, I don’t think the cake-making was ever witnessed. And she *was* the kind of person who would leave out an ingredient or a step. It was originally made with margarine but we use butter because, well … margarine. Though mom may have even tried using that one day, just to see if it made a difference. We shall try again. The “good news” is that even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, at least part of it is worth eating. So, lots of tasty mistakes! Thanks for the advice.

        1. Interesting. Do try the margarine, Beth. That’s probably the magic ingredient (barring any acts of mischief on her part ;).

          Margarine will give you a lighter crumb than butter will, since it doesn’t have any water in it. And there’s really no reason to fear it. It’s just, you know…fat.

          Cheers and let me know how it goes!

          – Joe

  3. Nothing beats a pound cake for simplicity and diversity of use. It’s a staple in southern homes for “when company visits”. My mom loves it for breakfast. Great for shipping or freezing to last. I bake a lemon one for friends for their respective birthdays. They cut it in chunks and freeze those for a quick dessert or “when company visits”. Can’t wait to try your version.

    1. Indeed it is one of the most versatile things you can make. I wonder why I haven’t done one before now. Well said, Linda!

      – Joe

  4. Hey, Joe,
    Just made this today. It took 15 minutes longer in my oven than your suggested 50, and I had to cover the top with foil to prevent overbrowning. It’s a plain pound cake. Not very sweet (a good thing in my book). A bit of an eggy taste – I’m wondering if I can cut it down to 4 eggs? Good tight crumb. Toasting a slice and slathering with butter for breakfast tomorrow! And the perfect quantity for a small family like ours.

    1. Great feedback, Charm. It is eggy, however if the eggs were reduced you’d have a leavening issue, methinks. One thing I am planning to emphasize in the tutorial is the ease with which flavorings scan be added. Citrus especially.

      Thanks for checking in on this!

      – Joe

  5. I’ve seen quite a few pound cake recipes that call for a bit of leavening, like baking powder. I generally think of this as “cheating.” But in truth, I’ve made pound cakes that I thought were much too dense, so baking powder begins to sound like rather a good idea. (I know, shame on me.) Any thoughts about using leavening in a pound cake? Also, using cake flour rather than AP flour is a great idea, and probably goes a long way in making the cake a bit less dense without the use of any leavening. I’ll give this a go, I think it will be great with the last of the berries.

  6. Joe,

    I’m a pastry chef at a gastropub, and they use pound cake slices to make a great French Toast (trust me, it’s good). Though my batter is slightly different from your recipe, I just wanted to share with you & your readers that, to avoid too much cracking on top of the loaf, go with the old “low & slow” method; I bake mine at 300-325 (depending on which oven I’m using) for about 50-75 minutes. They come out GBD every time, and are moist to perfection on the inside!

    For the French Toast, dredge the sliced cake in an egg/cinnamon batter, then coat with corn flakes (Rice Krispies work fine, too), then deep fry and serve dusted with powdered sugar and syrup or fruit compote. Bon Appetit!

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