A true classic, my Pound Cake recipe is simple (only six ingredients) and satisfying! This cake is heavy and dense (as it ought to be!) while simultaneously being soft, buttery, and absolutely melt-in-your-mouth! It’s incredible served alone or pairs beautifully with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Traditional Pound Cake (Made Better!)
I’m not sure where pound cake rates in terms of your favorite cake recipes, but I’ll admit it had never been a top contender for in my household. Humble and frosting-less, sure I would have a slice, but nobody in my house ever really got excited about pound cake, often overlooking it for light and fluffy angel food cake or prettily iced layer cakes.
If your experience with pound cakes of the past is anything like mine, you’re in for a real treat today. I set about developing this recipe with a mission, determined to perfect a pound cake that was simple and not overly complicated, one that didn’t stray too far from the traditional version (no fancy or unusual ingredients) but at the same time put all of its predecessors to shame.
Here you have it. Perfectly balanced, rich and sweet, my pound cake is so buttery and soft that melts in your mouth, and it’s anything but boring. It’s a heavy cake (as pound cakes should be!) with a dense, velvety crumb, but there’s nothing dry or crumbly about it.
While this cake can hold it’s own, it’s even better when served with homemade whipped cream and fresh fruit. It would also pair well with a spoonful or two of lemon curd (a great way to use up some leftover egg yolks!).
Break out your bowls–you’re going to need a big one–and let’s talk about what it is that makes this cake so perfectly special and irresistible.
What You Need (and What You DON’T)
Pound cake has traditionally been made with a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. When developing my recipe, I wanted to stay as true as I could to the traditional version, but some small adjustments were in order for the absolute best flavor (I mean, hello, vanilla extract!). The result is a soft, buttery crumb that’s perfectly dense without being at all dry or crumbly.
- Butter. Unsalted butter works best for this cake. It should be softened, but not so soft that it’s greasy, melty, or oily.
- Sugar. We stick with tradition and use regular granulated sugar only in this cake. Make sure to whip your butter and sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy before you move to the next step.
- Eggs. You will need six whole eggs and six additional egg yolks. It might seem like a lot, and it is, but trust me! The extra yolks help to keep the cake crumb moist with almost custardy undertones/flavors. We omit extra whites because they would make the cake crumb too light (remember, this is a dense cake!) and could even make it dry. This cake is perfect for using up extra yolks from another recipe! Save your extra egg whites to make meringue, pavlova, or Eton mess!
- Vanilla. You’re going to add a whole tablespoon of vanilla to this cake batter. This may seem like a lot, but I promise it’s just the right amount! PS. If you have a batch of homemade vanilla extract sitting in your cabinet, this is the time to bring it out!
- Salt. For flavor, I add a little salt.
- Flour. I specificaly developed this recipe to be perfectly soft and tender using plain ol’ all-purpose flour, but include notes in the recipe in case you’d like to substitute cake flour. Make sure you know how to measure your flour properly, or may end up with a dry cake. One more thing that I cannot stress highly enough: do not, under any circumstances, use self-rising flour. Your cake will almost absolutely overflow.
You may notice that my pound cake recipe does not use baking powder. This is intentional! Pound cake ought to have a dense crumb, and baking powder serves to lighten a cake’s crumb and help it rise. The eggs in our recipe work all of the rising-magic that we need, and not only would adding baking powder make the cake crumb too light (best-case-scenario), you’re also bound to find it’s overflowed all over your oven when the baking time has elapsed.
SAM’S TIP FOR LEMON POUND CAKE: I’ve received lots of requests for how to make a lemon version of this pound cake recipe. While you could just swap out the vanilla extract for lemon, it’s not going to taste as bright and sunny as you’re used to. I have a separate lemon pound cake recipe that packs lots of lemon flavor and is draped in a stunning white glaze. I highly recommend you try it!
As always, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Pound Cake
- Grease and flour your baking pan. Shake out any excess flour and set aside.
- Beat the butter until smooth, then add sugar. Cream until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Slowly drizzle egg mixture into your butter mixture with mixer on low speed. Pause to scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then increase speed and beat for another 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour. Scrape and stir again on medium speed until well-combined, then beat for another minute. You should have a completely smooth, uniform batter. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top.
- Bake in 350F oven for an hour and ten to an hour and fifteen minutes. Test with a wooden skewer for doneness.
- Cool for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the sides and center of the pan before carefully inverting onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before serving.
SAM’S TIP: To test if your cake is finished, the best method is to use a long wooden skewer (like the kind used for shish-kebabs) as this batter is so thick that a toothpick just won’t cut it. Insert the skewer into your cake and check it for moist crumbs. If you have wet batter on your skewer, your cake needs to bake longer, but if there are a few moist crumbs then it’s time to pull that cake out of the oven! The cake is going to continue to bake while it cools, so if you pull out a completely clean skewer from your cake, it’s already at risk of being over-baked and dry, so you want to retrieve your cake from the oven before it hits that point.
Frequently Asked Questions
While this recipe was very deliberately developed to be moist, the most important thing when baking your pound cake is to make sure that you do NOT over-bake it. I recommend making sure your oven is not running hot (I keep two oven thermometers in my oven at all times just to make sure my oven display is telling me the truth) and then checking your cake earlier rather than later. Because of its thick batter and the sheer volume of batter, it’s going to take quite a while in the oven, probably an hour and ten to an hour and fifteen minutes. I check my cake at one hour and then return it to the oven in about 5-minute increments until it’s finished baking.
This cake was originally made with a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, and so the name pound cake was born. Crazy stuff, huh? 😉
This pound cake should not overflow if prepared as written and baked in the proper-sized pan (indicated in the recipe card). I have found that some people have had their cakes overflow, and in each instance this has happened because they had substituted self rising flour, used 12 whole eggs, or added baking powder to the recipe. Please do not make any of these alterations.
More Classic Cakes to Try:
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
The Perfect Pound Cake Recipe
- 2 cups unsalted butter softened (455g)
- 3 ½ cups granulated sugar (700g)
- 6 large whole eggs¹
- 6 large egg yolks¹ (these 6 egg yolks are in addition to the 6 whole eggs listed above).
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose (plain) flour² (438g)
- Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and generously grease (with shortening) and flour a 10 inch tube pan or 12 cup bundt pan. Shake out excess flour and set aside.
- Place your butter in a large bowl (this recipe makes a lot of batter! I recommend using a stand mixer if you have one) and use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it is creamy and smooth.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until the ingredients are well combined and light and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes).
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine your eggs, additional egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Use a fork to lightly beat the eggs and yolks until all egg yolks are broken up and salt and vanilla are incorporated.
- With mixer on low speed, slowly pour egg mixture into your batter, allowing it to gradually become incorporated (don’t pour all the egg mixture in at once, if you can’t manage a steady stream then add the egg mixture in about 6 parts, allowing each part to become well incorporated before adding more). Once all of the egg mixture is incorporated, pause to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually, about ¼ cup at a time, add flour to the batter until all has been added.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl and stir again on medium speed until well-combined and beat for another minute.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared tube pan, use a spatula to smooth the surface of the batter.
- Transfer to 350F (175C) oven and bake in the center rack of your oven for an hour and ten to an hour and fifteen minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the thickest part of the cake comes out clean or ideally with a few moist crumbs (do NOT over-bake this cake or it will be dry)
- Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes then run a knife around the sides of the tube pan and the center.
- Carefully invert pound cake onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.
¹EggsA lot of people have had questions about how many eggs to use. You need a total of 12 eggs for this recipe BUT you are only going to be using 6 whole eggs and then another 6 egg yolks. Meaning you will be discarding 6 egg whites (or save them to make meringue cookies or my white cake).
²Cake FlourIf you’d like, you can substitute cake flour. If measuring your flour by weight (which you really should be!) you can do a straight 1:1 substitute for cake flour. This cake will turn out just as well; slightly softer, a smidge less dense, but still delicious. Just like with using all-purpose flour, you DO NOT need to add baking powder to this recipe if you use cake flour. Also worth noting: DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE SELF-RISING FLOUR.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Hi Sam. This pound cake came out amazing. I used my decorative bundt pan and had no trouble releasing it from the pan. It’s delicious! The crust is amazing. I cut back on the the sugar to 3 cups, otherwise I followed recipe exactly. I served it with my fresh blueberry sauce and fresh blueberries!! Yummy! This is the 9th recipe I have tried of yours and all are a hit. Thank you!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
That combination sounds wonderful! We’re so happy this one was a hit too. Thanks so much for the review ❤️
I tried this recipe for a birthday and it was an instant hit! This recipe won over family members that aren’t frequently impressed with cake, and they insisted this become one of our holiday desserts.
My bundt pan was too small, so I put about 1/2 in a regular cake pan, and both came out great. I reduced cooking time by about 15-20 minutes to just under an hour, and it was probably still a little too long, but they were moist and delicious.
IMHO, whenever possible, go by weight. I have a digital scale and it is well worth the investment to ensure your ingredient measurements are accurate. (Even for the eggs if not store bought, as backyard chicken eggs can vary!)
Thanks so much!
Are there adjustments that need to be made if baking at high altitude?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Max! Unfortunately we aren’t familiar with high altitude baking, so we can’t say for sure how the recipe would need to be adjusted. 🙁 Hopefully someone else can chime in and help!
Exactly what l wanted. Perfect.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
So glad you enjoyed, Sheila! Thanks for the review 😊
This cake tastes so yummy, but I have tried twice now and it’s just way under. My kids like it but I could not use for what I needed unfortunately. I baked for an hour and 20 minutes too.
I’m so sorry to hear this Shannon! Is it possible your oven temperature is off? Are you using a different pan?
Am I able to add 1 TBS sprite of to it, to give it a little lemon flavor?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Tia! We’d recommend using lemon extract or zest instead. We also have a lemon pound cake recipe 😊
Would not recommend this recipe
I followed all the instructions and it came out great but after I let it cool for like an hour and I tried to take it out of the pan it fell apart. This was meant for my church and thanks to this recipe I will let everyone down. So upset and a waste of time
I’m so sorry to hear this, Lily! If it was completely cooled when you tried to take it out of the pan, my only other guess is that the pan may have needed be greased a little bit better. 🙁
I made this in a tube pan, followed the directions and I cooked it to 1hr 15 min and it still wasn’t done, kept cooking it but after 1 hr and 30 min I felt it would dry out. Taste was great and if I can figure out why it didn’t cook right I will give 5 stars!
I’m so sorry to here this Dee! Is is possible that your oven temperature isn’t quite accurate? That’s very frustrating. 🙁
Simply the best. Pound cake itself is a relatively basic recipe but that doesn’t mean all pound cake ends up tasting the same. I’ve made this for our family a couple times now and it’s always a massive success. I typically make it in a bundt pan but it’s also super delicious in miniature loaves. The crust outside is divine and the inside has the perfect dense but tender crumb. My kids call this sugar cookie cake and ask for it all the time. Our neighbors have hens now so we always have plenty of eggs and every time we get to 12 in the fridge I get a request for this cake. I’m making it today again for probably the 10th time and I hope I get to make it a hundred more. Thank you so much for this unbelievably delicious recipe!
In my life I’ve made many different poundcakes, but I must say that this poundcake recipe is the very best. I’m always baking cakes for my boyfriend and this is what he had to say: “The cake is divine, but the sweet, buttery crust is just heavenly!”
I am interested in making this in a 9×13 pan. Any idea how long baking may take? I can watch it if not.but I was curious. I want to use it for a breast cancer survivor ribbon cake which is why I need the 9×13 flat pan.
Hi Amanda! Unfortunately, I do not know how long to bake it in a 9 x 13. You will want to make sure to not overfill the pan as this cake makes a good bit of batter. 🙂
What is the purpose of the extra egg yolk
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Shawn! We actually discuss this within the post. Hope that helps 😊
Hi I do not have access to AA tube or bunt pan.‘is there anything else I can use ??
Hi Janine! I know others have used 2 loaf pans. 🙂
In our family it has been a tradition to bake a lamb cake for Easter. Unfortunately my mom was really bad about writing down her recipes. She has been gone for quite some time. I seem to try new recipes every year but I do not seem to like them. I am looking for a butter and moist cake for the lamb cake mold. Do you think I can use this recipe for the lamb cake mold? Also by chance do you have a recipe for a buttery and not sickening sweet frosting that can be used on the lamb mold. Thank you
Hi Bettina! Others have reported making this cake in a lamb mold without any issues. I have been told it typically fills 2 and takes about an hour to bake. You’re best bet for a not sweet frosting would be a Swiss meringue buttercream or Ermine frosting. They are pretty rich for a pound cake, but aren’t overly sweet. 🙂
Will this recipe work with a metal bunny pan? Thanks
Hi Nancy! I haven’t tried it in a bunny shaped pan, but I think it could work. I’m not sure on a bake time. 🙂
Can almond flour be substituted for regular flour?
Hi Ellen! I can’t say for sure as I haven’t tried it. 🙁