Rich, dense, and buttery, this pound cake recipe is a classic dessert that is so delicious as is, but beyond wonderful combined with fruit, whipped cream, or any other topping you dream up!
Classic pound cake doesn’t really need to be dressed up. Try a slice of pound cake while it’s still slightly warm and you’ll see what I mean. Dense, sweet, with a nice moist crumb, the flavor is rich and wonderful.
But there’s no denying that adding a bit of fresh fruit (strawberries! raspberries! peaches!) and a dollop of whipped cream to pound cake really makes a smashingly good dessert. Ice cream or yogurt, hot fudge, caramel sauce, all make great toppings, too. Lemon curd is wonderful with pound cake. Or try strawberry sauce or blueberry sauce.
Drizzle the top of the cake with icing or soak it with flavored simple syrup. Really the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
About this recipe
While pound cake sounds relatively simple, there are a few tricks to making a perfect old fashioned pound cake. Keep reading for some tips that may help you out.
Please don’t be scared off by the list of tips. If you’re like me, you’re not necessarily looking for THE PERFECT POUND CAKE, but you’d like a cake that is presentable and tastes great. Let me assure you, you won’t have a problem!
Why is it called pound cake?
Way back in the 1700s, a traditional pound cake was made of only four ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. The measurement for each ingredient was exactly one pound each, or 16 ounces. I guess really it should be called “four pound cake”!
Recipes vary today by region and by individual cooks but many cooks, particularly from Southern United States, still use this traditional recipe.
What you need
- Unsalted Butter: If you use salted, keep in mind you may want to decrease or eliminate the added salt in the recipe.
- Sugar: Good ol’ granulated sugar is what you need.
- Eggs: Use large eggs, and make sure they’re at room temperature. Here’s a tip for bringing eggs to room temperature quickly if you forgot.
- Flour: All-purpose is best for a classic style cake.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: This will give the cake so much great flavor!
- Salt: To balance out the sweetness.
- Nutmeg: This is optional but we love the je ne sais quoi it adds.
How do you make pound cake from scratch?
It’s not a difficult cake to make. The ingredients are simple. If you look in your pantry and fridge, you’ll probably discover you already have everything you need to make a pound cake.
Get out your electric mixer, a large bowl, and a loaf pan. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line the loaf pan with parchment paper, then spray it with nonstick cooking spray. It isn’t essential to use the parchment paper but it does make it easier to to lift the cake out of the pan neatly.
Beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy, at least 4 minutes. Don’t skimp on the beating time.
Add vanilla and then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. The eggs should be well incorporated.
Add the flour, nutmeg, and salt gradually until just combined, scraping down sides as needed. The batter will be very thick.
Scrape the batter into the pan, smoothing out the top.
Bake for 50-55 minutes. How will you know when the cake is done? The top and the sides of the cake will be golden brown, there will most likely be a deep crack in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
Tips for a perfect pound cake
- Every ingredient should be at room temperature, including the eggs.
- Always lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup. Scooping the flour right from the canister or bag results in compacted flour, or too much flour.
- Soften the butter, don’t melt it or use it rock hard. Leave it out of the refrigerator overnight if you plan to bake first thing in the morning.
- Don’t skimp on beating the butter and sugar. It’s better to go a little too long than not long enough.
- Add the eggs one at a time, allowing about half a minute per egg. Beat just until the mixture looks smooth, not curdled, with no yellow yolk still showing.
- Slowly fold in the flour. There’s no need to beat the batter with the flour.
- Cool for at least ten minutes before removing from the pan. Don’t try to hurry it or the cake may crack while you’re trying to move it.
How to make this recipe your own
- For a Bundt cake, double all the ingredients and use a well-greased 10 cup Bundt pan. Bake for 55 minutes.
- Omit the vanilla and nutmeg for a more traditional pound cake.
Pound cake wrapped in plastic wrap or in a sealed container will keep at room temperature for three days or in the fridge for a week. However, you’ll find that the cake has better texture at room temperature.
You’ll be glad to know that pound cake freezes beautifully. It’s so nice to have in the freezer for a quick dessert, especially if you pre-slice it. Wrap it really well and it can be frozen for up to six months. Thaw the cake on the counter. Do not heat or microwave a pound cake in an attempt to thaw it more quickly.
Want to do something fun with leftover cake? Try this Pound Cake French Toast!
More cake recipes!
Simple or fancy, frosted or plain, cakes are always a hit! Try one of these sure-to-please cake recipes:
- Apple Spice Cake with Bourbon Glaze (or leave the glaze off, it’s really great both ways)
- Pumpkin Poke Cake
- Coffee Cake Recipe with Streusel
- Peach Coffee Cake Recipe
- Rhubarb and Nutmeg Cake
- Flourless Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake
- Cranberry Coffee Cake with Orange and Cardamom
- Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- White Layer Cake with Lemon Filling and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Easiest Double Chocolate Pecan Cake
- Clementine Vanilla Bean Yogurt Cake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on the sides, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add flour and salt gradually until just combined, scraping down sides as needed.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing out top.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on rack in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely.
- Bundt Cake Directions: Double all the ingredients and use a well-greased 10 cup Bundt pan. Bake for 55 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing cake from pan.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.