10 Tips for Making the Perfect Pound Cake
Think today's portion sizes are too big? Consider the original pound cake recipe. It called for one pound of flour, one pound of butter, one pound of eggs and one pound of sugar. You read that right, that's a whopping 4-lb cake when you are done! The thought was that in the days when not everyone could read, this 1:1:1:1 conversion was a recipe that anyone could follow.
As Southerners, we all have an opinion about pound cake. Some feel strongly about sticking to the traditional flour, butter, egg and sugar recipe. Others like their pound cake with a little more flair. The one thing everyone can agree on is that the main flavor profile should be rich and buttery with a dense texture and a tender crumb. Even though today's pound cake recipes come in all shapes, sizes and flavors, several things still hold true.
When making pound cake, keep these 10 tips in mind:
- Start with room temperature ingredients to ensure maximum volume. Don't try to cheat by warming up your butter in the microwave. Partially melted butter won't cream properly.
- Always cream the sugar mixture until very light and fluffy for a smooth velvety texture. Beat on medium high to high speed setting for anywhere from 3 -- 7 minutes depending on the speed of your blender.
- Reduce the speed of your mixer to a medium to low setting when adding flour mixtures and liquids to the batter.
- Don't overbeat once the eggs have been added. Doing so may cause a fragile crust. Mix just long enough for the yellow to disappear.
- If a recipe says to fold an ingredient into the batter, always do your folding by hand with a large spoon or spatula.
- Always use real butter. The fat content in margarine can vary dramatically, which will change the outcome of your recipe.
- Make sure every crack and crevice of your tube or Bundt pan has been greased/buttered and floured. The dense nature of a pound cake means your gorgeous brown crust will tear if any section of it sticks to the pan.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Don't try to speed up baking. Most pound cake recipes need to be in the oven for over an hour. It's also a good idea to rotate the pan once during baking.
- Also, don't rush turning the pan over. Let your pound cake rest in the pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before turning it out. We like to run a sharp knife around a smooth edged pan or gently shake a fluted pan after this brief cool down, just to make sure our cake is loose.
- It's best to store a pound cake at room temperature with an airtight cover. Refrigerating a pound cake does extend its shelf life, but it also distorts the fresh texture and flavor of your cake. An average pound cake will remain fresh and delicious about 4-5 days at room temperature.
Pound cakes are easy to make from scratch, and in fact, homemade pound cake recipes mix up faster than their boxed rivals---and there's just no contest when it comes to taste.
Pound cake recipes have stood the test of time. When researching this piece, we found 8 classic pound cake recipes in our Homemade Good News - Summer Guide to Entertaining 1993 issue. From Chocolate Raspberry Pound Cake to Peanut Butter Pound Cake, these recipes are just as popular now as they were 20+ years ago. Jump to page 9 to start.
Here are some of our more recent (and popular) pound cake recipes:
Did you know?
- Pound cakes actually taste better the next day, so you can make it ahead.
- Pound cakes freeze beautifully. Just wrap your cooled cake well in plastic wrap, cover with a layer of foil and pop it into the freezer. Tightly sealed, your cake will still taste freshly baked even after three months in your freezer. To thaw, simply allow the cake to stand on your counter until it comes to room temperature. Never reheat to thaw.
Quick trick: When you need to cut out those waxed paper circles used to line your baking pans, place a sheet of waxed paper that is larger than your pan on a wooden cutting board. Place the pan, bottom side down, on top of the paper and hold securely in place by pressing down hard with one hand. Then run a very sharp, pointed knife smoothly around the rim of the pan. If the point of your knife is sharp enough, it will cut right through the paper or score the line for you. To cut the hole perfectly in the center of your circle (for the tube), simply fold the circle into quarters and trim away the point.