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.
Can the beating process with the butter, sugar, and then later ingredients be done with a hand-held whisk?
Hi Damarcus! It would be A LOT of work to get this done with a hand held whisk. I’m not sure if it can be done, but I haven’t tried it. 🙁
I understand. Thanks anyway.
Can gf Pillsbury flour be used in this recipe.
Hi Becky! I haven’t tried it, but others have reported doing so with success. 🙂
Can you divide this recipe to go into smaller pans. How long would you bake it in a loaf or soufflé pan?
Hi Leigh! I have had others report it filling 2 loaf pans and taking an hour to an hour and 15 minutes to bake. I haven’t tried it personally so I would just keep an eye on them. 🙂
Yes you can by whisk but like they said it is a lot of whisking. Best to get a electric hand mixer if you can’t do a stand mixer, especially if you want to do variations of this like, Lemon, Orange, or Bergamot!
Anne Marie Ashley
Hi! What are the adjustments if you use a cake pan instead of a tube or Bundt?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Anne! Just make sure not to overfill your pans and keep an eye on them as the bake time will vary. Enjoy!
I would use 8 inch rounds. I don’t know how many that would make…2 or 3 and how long they would bake. I’ve made this Cake in my tube pan for a party and it was a big hit! It’s alot of cake, so trying to make for smaller number of people.
I’m trying to find a delicious pound cake recipe to bake in round cake pans. I’m making a topsy turvy cake. Can this recipe be made in round cake pans instead of a tube or bundt pan?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Leslie! We think it should still bake fine in a cake pan, but you may end up with extra batter depending on the size of yours. Your bake time will be different as well 🙂
I just tried this recipe this week and it was amazing. In my opinion, there’s no reason to consider any other Pound Cake recipes as this is just as good as it gets! Now I understand why it was rated so highly!
And adding a comment regarding the eggs-I only had XL eggs and 5 eggs + 5 yolks worked just fine.
Best pound cake ever! Fabulous crust.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Kay! Thanks for the review 😊
This recipe is perfect and everything you said it would be, thanks so much for sharing it! This will be my go to pound cake recipe and I can’t wait to share it with others! 🙂
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy you enjoyed it, Eric! Thanks for trying our recipe ❤️
As I write this, the cake’s baking in the oven. Looks good so far but I had to leave out some flour. I opened a new bag of flour today & noted when I made bread this AM, it was very dry (as in added quite a bit of extra water to make it pliable). Nothing like cold dry days to dry out my baking supplies! I was a bit panicky as wasn’t sure how to add more liquid to the batter so opted for eyeballing batter texture when adding flour & dropping the amount. Was this the thing to do? Should I have added an extra yolk? Suggestions, folks? Pretty sure anyone living in the cold North must have run across this?
Thanks for the ease of the recipe & instructions!🙃
I’m sure this is a 5-star recipe if you do it right, but I hope you can tell me my mistake. My cake fell! First, I halved the recipe for two of us, and second, I used cake flour, the same weight as half of the all-purpose flour weight. I followed all instructions carefully and the batter was beautiful! I baked in a large loaf pan, and at one hour the wooden skewer test showed a few small crumbs, so I removed the cake from the oven, and it fell as it cooled. I’ve looked online and most causes for a cake to fall would not apply (old baking powder, etc.). Do you think it was the cake flour? Not done enough? Any ideas? There are just two of us and the full recipe would be too big, but I could make other changes.
Hi Judy! The cake flour won’t cause any issues here. I think the most likely cause would be under-baking here. Did you have a long skewer to get all the way down to the bottom of the pan? It’s going to take a bit of time to bake in the loaf pan since there’s not a ring in the center of the pan. 🙂
Can you tell me why the extra 6 yolks is there a specific reason or the usual 6 eggs will be enough.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Sonya! You can find a detailed explanation within the post. Hope that helps!
Do you think this would be ok if I added some chocolate chips??
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Franki! We’re not sure if the chocolate chips will fall to the bottom, but it’s worth a shot.
I would like to turn this recipe into a marble (chocolate ) pound cake after the batter is completely mixed I know I would remove some of the batter and turn it into chocolate batter the swirl it in. How much batter needs to be removed and how much cocoa powder or melted semi sweet chocolate chips and any other ingredients would I need to do this
Hi Karen! Unfortunately there are just too many variables here for me to advise without having tried it. 🙁
Thanks for writing back I figured it out on my own baked it yesterday for the first time It was FABULOUS the only thing I didn’t like was the the outside of the cake was a little hard and crusty. Did I do something wrong how do I correct it. I thought I might try baking it @ 325 degrees instead My oven is calibrated correctly. Hope you can help me with the crusty outside part.
A pound cake should have a slight crust as shown in the picture. If it was a little bit too hard it may have been slightly over-cooked. I’m glad you ultimately enjoyed it though. 🙂
Yo i made this and my grandma started calling her friends to brag about my baking.
I am baking this as I wrote this. Swapped out 2/3 regular sugar for a vanilla chai sugar mix. So far it is looking good. Thank you for the recipe and the “why do ya…?” explanations on ingredients
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We hope it turns out nicely for you, Megan! It’s great to know the explanations are helpful ❤️
Hello! I am super excited to try this recipe. I was wondering if I can use a regular cake pan instead of a Bundt or tube cake pan for this recipe, please? Looking forward to your reply.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Audrey! We haven’t tried it, but we think that should work fine. Enjoy 😊
Thank you! So excited to try it! God bless you!
Wonderful pound cake! I baked it at 325 thought that would be best. Turned out beautiful!
I made this and followed the recipe techniques exactly. Came out wonderfully. I added about a quarter teaspoon of Almond extract and a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Tastes amazing. Thank you for the recipe!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Thanks so much for your review, Joni! We’re so happy you enjoyed the cake ❤️
This is seriously the best pound cake! And I say that even though I had to switch the cake from one oven to the other after my stupid tube pan leaked and smoke was billowing out of the first oven. Haha. But seriously this is a GREAT recipe! You even converted my Mom who had attempted a pound cake 20+ years ago and was turned off because the texture did not turn out right. This cake is SO moist! I will be making this cake more often!