Pound Cake

A pound cake is traditionally made with a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs and a pound of flour, but these days we rarely weigh our ingredients. Here's a recipe that uses volume measurements, but keeps the ratio intact so that it's delicious, moist and tender.

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Why is Pound Cake Called “Pound Cake”?

This is an easy one! Pound cake is called so because it was traditionally made with one pound of each of its main ingredients – one pound of butter, one pound of sugar, one pound of eggs and one pound of flour. It makes it the easiest of all recipes to memorize! If you have a scale, making a pound cake is very easy to pull together. Of course, most home cooks don’t use scales as much as they should these days and we need volume measurements instead. The volume measurements are not as cool or easy to remember, but they may be easier for you to measure. 

A piece of pound cake on a plate with berries and a whole pound cake loaf in the background.

Making Pound Cake from Scratch

There’s a good reason why pound cake has been around forever – it’s just darned good! It’s so simple and pure but it relies on the best ingredients and a few good techniques to get it right.

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Ingredients on a counter - eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and butter.

Simple Ingredients

When a recipe has only a few ingredients, the success of the recipe depends on the quality of those ingredients.  So, get the best organic cultured butter you can find and use fresh large eggs. Make sure your flour is not old or stale and use pure vanilla extract rather than artificial vanilla flavor. Then, bring those ingredients to room temperature, specifically the eggs and the butter. That is the critical first step.

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Creamed butter in a glass bowl with a hand mixer.

Creaming the Butter – the Most Important Step

That critical first step gets you prepared for the next most important step of all – creaming the butter and sugar. This step is so important that I created a video lesson on just this step. You can see that lesson here. Pound cake does not have any chemical leaveners, like baking soda or baking powder. Instead, it relies on how you beat the butter and eggs to get a little lift. Creaming the butter properly will take you at least 5 minutes. What you’re doing in this step is beating air into the butter and creating an environment that will help trap more air when you add eggs to the mix. It’s these air pockets that expand when the loaf is baked and create a rise in the cake. So, be sure to cream the butter and sugar properly. 

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A loaf pan and a butter wrapper on a counter.

Tip: Use Your Butter Wrapper to Grease the Pan

Even when I’m using a non-stick baking pan, I always grease the pan. Using the butter wrapper from one or two sticks of butter is the easiest way to do this. There’s just enough butter left on a wrapper to coat the inside of the pan and by rubbing the wrapper on all sides, you’ve prepared the pan without making a mess.

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A loaf pan filled with pound cake batter and a bowl with more batter, a spatula and a butter wrapper.

Makes Two Pound Cake Loaves

This recipe for pound cake makes two loaves that are about 3-inches high, depending on how well you beat the eggs and butter. If you’d prefer only one loaf, simply cut the recipe in half – you can use the adjustable serving button on the recipe below.

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Two pound cakes on a cooling rack - one in a loaf pan and the other out - and a red towel.

How to Serve Pound Cake

A well-made pound cake is delicious all by itself, accompanied by a cup of coffee or tea, but it’s also a great component in many other desserts. You can serve pound cake with whipped cream and strawberries for a strawberry shortcake. Layers of pound cake can also be used to build ice cream cakes, and a slice of pound cake is a great way to soak up ice cream as it melts. You can also serve pound cake with some lemon curd or drizzle a lemon glaze over the top. Think of pound cake as the blank slate for your next dessert. The possibilities are endless.

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A piece of pound cake on a plate with some berries and a scoop of strawberry ice cream.

How to Store or Freeze

Pound cake is always best on the day it’s made, but you can store it easily as well. To store pound cake, wrap it well with plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze pound cake very easily. Wrap it well and keep it frozen for up to 2 months. Let it defrost in the refrigerator or at room temperature. 

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
How to Cream Butter and Sugar

Creaming the butter is one of the most important steps in home baking. Learn why you should be paying attention...View Technique

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Watch The Recipe Video

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Pound Cake

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 1 h
  • Cooling Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 15 m
  • Servings:
    12

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unsalted butter 4 sticks, softened so they hold your finger indent
  • 1 pound sugar 2 cups
  • 1 pound eggs 9 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound All-purpose flour 3 -1/3 cups

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF and grease two 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pans.
  2. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This will take at least 5 minutes, but probably more like 8 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  4. Add the vanilla and salt and mix in.
  5. Add the flour, one cup at a time, and at a reduced speed on the mixer. Mix just to combine and do not over-mix.
  6. Transfer the batter to the greased pans and smooth out the tops.
  7. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 5 to 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack. Serve with a lemon glaze, some berries, a scoop of ice cream or some whipped cream.
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Comments (10)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    I’m hoping this cake will work with my GF flour. Pound cake is my very favorite and can’t ait to make it. I’ve made your basic rice pudding recipe and people go crazy over it and that is why I have given this recipe 5 stars because I am sure it will be great.
    Also, I have to say no one will ever bring to QVC what you did.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this recipe tonight and it is fabulous, even using 1/2 sugar and 1/2 Splenda (Husband is diabetic). Thanks to Chef for her video and caution on over mixing! Cake is tender.

  3. Going to make today… I’m sure it will be great! Do you cook both pans together or separate? My oven not the greatest!! Everything takes so long 🤪

    1. Hi Dawn, yes I do cook both loaves together. Have you calibrated the temperature of your oven? I would suggest using an oven thermometer to see if the temperature is running low. You may have to set it at a higher temperature. It should help to make your oven more efficient.

  4. I love hearing you explain a recipe. You go through every detail. You enlighten us about all the things that can happen if we don’t do this, or what will happen if we do that. Giving all the tips is so very important.
    I think when someone says their recipe didn’t turn out well, maybe one of your tips might have helped; not everyone pays attention when you explain.
    Keep those fur babies pictures coming, they are the cutest. 💕

  5. 5 stars
    I agree with Sandra, no one brings to QVC what you did. I miss seeing you there, but glad I got you here.
    Thx for all your recipes and tips. 💕

  6. 5 stars
    I had been planning to make pound cake, as hot as it was last week. Then the local grocery store announced they had just received their first shipment of organic locally grown biggest juiciest peaches!
    SO I peeled and sliced the peaches, melted some butter in the pan, added a thin layer of brown sugar, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a thick layer of sliced peaches, and the pound cake batter! Skipped the lemon glaze and flipped the cake upside down. OMG! Peach and pound cake heaven!!

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