wikiHow to Bake a Pound Cake

Three Methods:For a True Pound CakeFor a LoafFor a Simple Pound Cake

The name "pound cake" comes from the traditional American pound cake recipe which called for one pound each of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs.[1] Now that's putting "super-sized" to shame. Whether you're looking for an authentic "pound" recipe or something a bit more accommodating for the normal gathering, here's all you need.


For a True Pound Cake

  • 1 lb. (4 sticks or 455g) butter
  • 1 lb. (450g) white sugar
  • 1 lb. (455g) flour
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon (pinch) mace
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) brandy

For a Loaf

  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 227 g) unsalted and at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250 g)
  • 1 cup (225 g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (pinch) salt
  • Lemon and/or orange zest to taste
  • Any other additions

For a Simple Pound Cake

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs

Method 1
For a True Pound Cake

  1. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 1
    Preheat your oven to 300ºF (150ºC). In your pan or pans (this recipe is quite large -- but pound cakes are perfect for a double-layer masterpiece), line them with cooking spray or butter; this prevents sticking. You could also sprinkle with flour (on top of the butter) or line with parchment paper.
  2. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 2
    Measure out the dry ingredients. Doing this all beforehand will make the baking process go much more smoothly. It also creates less of a mess!
  3. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 3
    Break each egg and put them in a separate bowl. Make sure that each one is good and does not have blood in the yolks. Get out pieces of shell if necessary.
  4. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 4
    Cream the butter in a large bowl. Work or smash it with a wooden spoon until soft and of a creamy consistency -- hence the term. This step is very important; if you skip it, you may not get the consistency your batter needs to be. Gradually add sugar and continue to mix until thick and creamy.
    • This will be easiest if your butter isn't straight out of the fridge. Don't heat it up -- but do give it a few minutes to start nearing room temperature.
  5. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 5
    Add the egg yolks (beaten until thick and lemon-colored), flour, mace, and brandy. If you don't like the taste of brandy, substitute it for some vanilla or alternate flavoring.
    • Mace is not pepper spray -- though that would make for an interesting pound cake. On the contrary, it comes from the shell of nutmeg; if you don't have it, nutmeg can substitute (but mace has a more intense flavor).
    • Add in the flour slowly. All at once and you'll be climbing (err, mixing your way to) an uphill battle. Add it in bit by bit.
  6. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 6
    Beat vigorously for five minutes. However, this is an estimate -- if you sense you're about to overbeat the mixture, stop. This is a fine line and if passed, your cake may not rise adequately.
    • If you're using an electric mixer, use the slow setting -- you want the air to circulate throughout the batter.
  7. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 7
    Pour batter into your pan(s) and place in the oven. Cook for 75 minutes, checking periodically. Some ovens cook unevenly or quickly -- if this describes yours, keep an eye on it.
    • If to be used for fancy ornamented cakes, bake 30 to 35 minutes in a dripping-pan.
    • Insert a skewer or toothpick to see if it's finished. If it comes out dry, it is. Lay it upside-down on a wire rack for it to cool and come out easily.
  8. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 8
    Top as desired. Though it's delicious now, it's also great with a light dusting of powdered sugar and/or topped with strawberries or raspberry syrup. Anything slightly sweet will do the job nicely.
    • Another great way to eat pound cake is with your morning coffee or eaten with ice cream and chocolate syrup for a delicious desert.

Method 2
For a Loaf

  1. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 9
    Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Before you begin, grab your loaf pan and line the bottoms and sides with butter. Then, sprinkle with a light coating of flour. This will guarantee that it comes out easily when done.
    • The other option is parchment paper, which you can cut to size and insert in the bottom of the pan.
  2. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 10
    Cream together the butter and sugar. Hopefully your butter is at about room temperature, or else it will be a bit difficult to combine. It's very important to do this until the mixture is creamy, thick, and fluffy -- and not beyond this point. You'll know when you hit it.
    • Using an electric mixer on high will keep your forearms from cursing the day you volunteered for dessert duty.
  3. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 11
    Add eggs (one at a time), vanilla, and salt to your butter-sugar mixture. Mix well after each egg gets dropped in (about 15 seconds) before you add another. Then move onto the vanilla and salt.
    • At this point, you can add your lemon/orange zest or other additions. Dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate chips all have their place with this dessert. But it's delicious plain, too!
  4. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 12
    Gradually add in the flour bit by bit. If you dump 'er all in, either your muscles or your mixer will put up a fight. If you are using the mixer, keep it on the low setting.
    • Some schools of thought swear by sifting. If you've the time to spare, consider sifting your flour before adding it in.
    • Don't overbeat it! Once the batter looks finished, stop. You don't want it to lose any of its buoyancy.
  5. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 13
    Bake for 1 hour. Or, of course, until it's finished. Insert a toothpick to the middle to see if it is -- if it comes out clean, you're clear for take off. Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes or so.
    • If you find that it's browning too quickly in the oven, you can put a tent of aluminum foil over it to slow the process down.
  6. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 14
    Let cool inverted on a wire rack. It'll drop out when ready. When preparing to serve it, consider topping with additional goodies. Though great with a simple cup of coffee, it's also great with fruit, whipped cream, and whatever your little heart desires. The pound cake can accommodate most all sweet flavors.
    • A light dusting of powdered sugar is fairly standard, too. Sometimes something simple is more classic!
  7. Image titled Bake a Pound Cake Step 15

Method 3
For a Simple Pound Cake

  1. 1
    Leave the butter out at room temperature to soften it. Try not to let the butter melt. Put waxed paper in the loaf pan and preheat the oven to 340ºF.
    • If you don't have time to let the butter sit out, microwave for a few seconds at a time.
  2. 2
    Cream the butter with a spatula until it's creamy and smooth. Add sugar and cream the batter some more. It should now be at a grainy consistency.
  3. 3
    Whisk the eggs to a froth. Add them little by little to the bowl of butter and sugar. Stir. Sift flour and baking powder tho the mix.
  4. 4
    Pour the dough into the loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  5. 5
    Take out the baked cake. Cut it in the middle and bake it for another 20 minutes. Once it's done, cool on a wire rack.
  6. 6
    Serve. Pound cake tastes delicious with sweet vanilla ice cream, and fresh fruit, especially strawberries!


  • Always properly grease your pan to get the cake out easily.
  • If the butter is hard, allow it to stand a short time in a warm room. This makes it much easier to measure and cream. If you don't have time to do this, then warm the butter in a microwave for no longer than ten seconds.
  • Flour differs greatly in thickening properties.[2] For this reason, it is always good, when using a new bag, to try a small cake, as the amount of flour given may not make the perfect loaf. In winter, cake may be made of less flour than in summer.
  • If all ingredients are ready beforehand, mixing will be finished sooner.
  • Pastry flour contains more starch and less gluten than bread flour, making for a lighter, more tender cake.[3]


  • Watch the cake during baking. Make sure that heat is regulated and even throughout the oven.
  • Do not stir the cake after the final beating.
  • Do not use coarse granulated sugar; this will give the cake a coarse texture and hard crust.

Sources and Citations

  1. Davidson, Alan. Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999
  2. Farmer, Fannie Merritt. The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston: Little, Brown, 1918;, 2000.
  3. Herbst, Sharon Tyler & Herbst, Ron. Food Lover's Companion. New York: Barron's Education Series, 2007.
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