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Classic Pound Cake

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Serves 6-8

  • To learn more, read:
    How to Make Pound Cake
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 110

Velvety, dense, and rich, pound cake has been a baker's staple since colonial times. This recipe is moist and flavorful on its own, but you can dress it up by serving slices topped with lemon curd, berries, poached fruit, ice cream or fruit purée.

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, slightly firm, plus 1 Tbs. softened
  • 8 oz. (1-3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 8-3/4 oz. (1-1/4 cups) superfine sugar
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-3/4-inch loaf pan with the 1 Tbs. softened butter. Line the bottom with a rectangle of parchment.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt and whisk thoroughly.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until thickened and lightened in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Clean the bowl of the stand mixer and fit it with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix 1 minute longer. Add the sugar 1 to 2 Tbs. at a time, taking about 4 minutes to add it all and scraping the bowl as needed.

Still on medium-low speed, slowly add half of the beaten eggs, taking about 2 minutes to add them. Scrape the bowl as needed and beat for 30 seconds more. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the remaining eggs (divide the flour into 3 parts and the eggs into 2 parts), mixing just until each addition is incorporated. Scrape the bowl and beat on medium low for 10 seconds more.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of a large soup spoon, making sure to reach well into the corners. Bang the pan on the counter two times to remove any air pockets.

Bake the cake until the top is golden-brown, the sides begin to pull away from the pan, and a thin wooden skewer inserted slightly off center into the cake (not into the crack) comes out clean, 1 hour and 20 to 25 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of baking, lightly spray a 12-inch strip of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray and rest it loosely on top of the cake. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan.

To serve, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and use a serrated knife to cut the cake into 1/2-inch slices.

Variations

Simple shortcake: Top slices of cake with fresh berries or poached or sautéed fruit (like peaches or pears) and add a dollop of whipped cream.

Pound cake à la mode: Serve slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce; with butter pecan ice cream and caramel sauce; or with chocolate ice cream, raspberry purée, and fresh raspberries.

Easy trifle:
Drizzle cubes of cake with liqueur and in a large bowl, layer with custard, fruit, and whipped cream.

Leftovers

Tightly wrap any remaining cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. (Do not refrigerate.)

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 490; Fat (g): fat g 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 16; Protein (g): protein g 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 53; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 190; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 195; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is my go-to pound cake recipe. Rich, moist, and a favorite with family. We top it with fresh strawberries and real whipped cream.

I followed the recipe exactly. With the amount of butter and eggs in this recipe, I expected richer flavor. Instead it was only slightly better than the boxed pound cake mixes I can get at the grocery store. There are better recipes out there. I won't be making this again.

I made 2 cakes from this recipe last week as I had a glut of farm fresh eggs--one cake for now, one to freeze. We thought that the result was only ok, not really worth the eggs. I followed the recipe to the "t", pans were both the correct size and oven temp. was checked. I seriously think there are better pound cake recipes out there.

Dense, rich, but not velvety. The recipe suggests cooking time of 1 hour and 20 to 25 minutes. My cake was overdone at 1 hour and 10 minutes using the size pan recommended... hard on outside, slightly tender on inside. Good idea to check at 45 minutes and watch closely for browning and doneness.

Made a double batch for Easter. Served with fresh strawberries. This recipe is a keeper.

Very buttery and delicious. I did not have unsalted butter handy so I used salted and cut the salt in half that the recipe called for. I will definitely make this again!

Excellent recipe, easy to prepare!

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