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Pound Cake Perfection is possible

After months of research and testing I created Pound Cake Perfection. This is the ultimate old-fashioned, buttery pound cake that melts-in-your mouth. I think this will become your go-to recipe.

A sliced pound cake on a white tray

How to achieve Pound Cake Perfection

A really great pound cake should have an even crumb with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and buttery, vanilla flavor. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity.

While I’m not opposed to a little glaze or powdered sugar on a pound cake, I think pound cake is meant to be eaten without any frosting. You want all the richness in the cake itself. If you’ve got a really great cake recipe, there’s no reason to hide it under a pile of sweet frosting.

So why is it called “pound cake” anyway?

Pound cake got it’s name based on the original formula of 1 pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. It’s called “quatre-quarts” (four-fourths) by the French.

Let’s make a Better Pound Cake Recipe

There are about a bajillion pound cake recipes out there on the interwebs and, frankly, I’m shocked at how many of them still use the original 1:1:1:1 formula.

Personally, I find that recipe is less than ideal. It’s fairly dense, a little chewy and has a slightly flat taste.

I decided to tweak the original quatre quarts recipe to make it better. If you’re a baking geek like me, you can read all about how I adjusted the percentages in this comprehensive post about creating a great cake recipe.

If you still haven’t slaked your thirst for all the knowledge about cake batter, go ahead and read through my 7-part Cake Batter Series.

To develop my Cake Batter Series of posts I baked over 100 pound cakes over several months of research and testing. I tested each ingredient and how it works in the cake. I also tested various mixing methods, ingredient temperatures and alternative ingredients.

Through all this testing and tweaking I learned exactly what I needed to do to create my ideal pound cake.

Here are the changes I made to the original recipe:

To lighten the cake I added a little baking powder to the recipe. A pinch of salt and a teaspoon of real vanilla extract were added to enhance the flavor.

I upped the sugar just a bit for some added sweetness and tenderness, extra egg yolks for richness and a little milk for moisture.

Pound Cake Perfection, Achieved:

My Pound Cake is the perfect melt-in-your-mouth buttery cake that I was looking for.

I also created variations using sour cream and honey. I love all three cakes for different reasons. The sour cream variation has an extra moist and tender crumb and the honey variation has a lovely tawny color and slight caramel flavor. If you love chocolate try Chocolate Pound Cake or Marple Pound Cake

I baked all the cakes in a 9”x5” loaf pan, but they also bake up beautifully in a Bundt pan. A friend even baked the batter as cupcakes with great success.

Two slices of pound cake on a white plate. Wooden table

Pound Cake Perfection


If you love classic recipes like this you’ll love my new book: Easy Baking From Scratch: Quick Tutorials, Time-Saving Tips, Extraordinary Sweet and Savory Classics. The book contains over 100 recipes that have been well-tested and are presented in simple, clear language. It’s available now on Amazon.

Now that you’ve made this recipe what should you do with all the extra egg whites? Check out this collection of recipes that use extra whites for some great ideas.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider leaving a 5-star review.

Perfect Pound Cake

Pound Cake Perfection

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

A really great pound cake should have an even crumb with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and buttery, vanilla flavor. This is a really great pound cake!

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs plus 4 yolks (8.5 oz, 238g) room temp 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz, 60 ml) whole milk , divided
  • 1 ¾ cups (8 oz, 225 g) cake flour
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 oz, 285 g) granulated sugar 
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 oz, 255g) unsalted butter, room temp 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to at 350°F. Butter and flour a 9"x5" loaf pan or 12 cup bundt pan.
  2. Combine the eggs, yolks, vanilla and half the milk in a small bowl, whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar to the flour and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter to the flour and mix until combined. Add the other ½ of the milk and increase the speed to medium high. Mix for a full 2-3 minutes. The batter will lighten in color and texture. If your using a hand mixer add another minute or two to the mixing time.
  4. Scrape the bowl and paddle thoroughly. On low speed, add the egg mixture in 3 increments, scraping the bowl after each addition. Mix just until the eggs are incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to an even layer.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (about 55-65 minutes).

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Did you make this recipe?

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Mod

Thursday 17th of December 2020

Hi Eileen! I’d like to try this pound cake recipe. I live in Colorado, about 6000 ft above the sea level. Do you have any suggestion on what adjust to make this work in high altitudes? Thank you! Mod

Eileen Gray

Thursday 17th of December 2020

Sorry, I don't have much experience with high altitude baking. I have a Facebook group for bakers to ask questions like this. Join the group and post the question to see if anyone can help out.

pil

Wednesday 9th of December 2020

Hi Eileen, Thank you for your detailed experimentation. I tried your recipe but my cake keeps coming out very soggy. It has a nice top layer (about 1/5 from the top) but the rest is dense and soggy. It still tastes wonderful but texture is wrong. It almost feels like it's oozing with too much butter. I tried with reverse creaming, traditional creaming, less eggs, cake flour, AP flour, checked oven temperature. Sometimes it's slightly less soggy but still somewhat on the soggy side. What could I be doing wrong?

Eileen Gray

Thursday 10th of December 2020

Since this is a low moisture batter I can't imagine how it becomes "soggy". Do you mean that you get dense streaks in the cake? A couple of things to check. Room temperature butter means butter that is about 70F. The butter should be cool to the touch (cooler than body temp), slightly flexible but not at all melty or greasy. Don't over cream the batter which can compromise the texture. Use an oven thermometer to check your oven temperature to make sure you're baking at the right temp. Make sure you're using "large" eggs. Finally, what size pan are you using and what is the material of the pan?

Sabrina Cherry

Tuesday 29th of September 2020

Good morning I wanted to know what is the difference with the amount of eggs used. I use 5-6 eggs and I see your recipe calls for 3. Can you explain if it really makes a difference in the pound cake? Thank you.

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 29th of September 2020

There's a lot of information in this post about eggs in baking and this post about eggs in cake batter.

Truptee

Saturday 18th of July 2020

Hi Eileen! I stumbled upon your website while searching for a perfect pound cake recipe. I made it last night and let me tell you it is nothing short of divine!!

Never in my life have I ever tasted a pound cake so perfect!!! My heartfelt gratitude to you for putting up this Ultimate recipe on the web!

I shall now, take time to read through all your other recipes and start trying them out...

Thank you once again from India!

Truptee

Eileen Gray

Saturday 18th of July 2020

You are quite welcome!

Lurlyn

Monday 29th of June 2020

I made this cake today as stated and it came out perfect! I was wondering, though, if I could get away using 2 less egg yolks next time?

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 30th of June 2020

You can "get away" with it, but the cake will not be the same.