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Classic Pound Cake

Pound Cake

Pound Cake

There are certain things that no matter how hard I tried I was never able to find the recipe that produced a result that satisfied me. Pound cake is something I have tried to make so many times I can’t even count how many I have made that the results were disappointing. I hold every pound cake up to the Sara Lee Pound Cake, you know the one in the freezer section of the supermarket. I love that cake and have tried finding a recipe that will give me a similar result. So far I have not found it, the cakes are too heavy, the texture is not right, they don’t develop that top crust that I love among other issues. The Sara Lee cake is light as a feather and has a very dense crumb. I know, its full of stuff like preservatives etc.. but I can’t help it, I like it.

I was checking my email the other day and got one of those you need to follow emails from Twitter so I scrolled through and there it was, the title of the tweet was “How to make the perfect pound cake” that sucked me in immediately, it was from Wilton, you know them they make all manner of things for baking. I watched the video and the cake is simple to make and judging from the cake that came out of the oven in the Wilton test kitchen it looks pretty good. So I set out to make it, lets see how it is.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Perfect Pound Cake

Recipe from Wilton

1 lb (4 sticks) butter softened to room temperature

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

6 large eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Pre heat oven to 350 degree’s. Grease a tube pan plain or decorative your call. If fluted or the pan has grooves make sure every single crease is greased. Pound cakes tend to stick and you want to make sure it comes out perfectly.

Place flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, whisk to combine and set aside.

In your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment add the butter and sugar and cream until light in color and very fluffy. Scrape sides of pan with your rubber or silicone spatula. NOTE: Perfect mixing makes a perfect pound cake

Add your eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Make sure the eggs are completely incorporated in the butter/sugar mixture. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Add the flour mixture and beat for EXACTLY one minute (60 seconds) scraping down sides with your spatula as needed.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 50-55 minutes. The cake will be golden brown. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, gently press the sides of the cake so they are loosened do the same with the middle tube. Use a small flexible offset spatula if cake needs to be further loosened. Invert onto cooling rack and let cool completely before serving. Dust with a little powdered sugar.

Looks good

Looks good

The cake is pretty good, Β but it’s not exactly what I have been looking for although it’s closer than any of the other recipes I have tried. It will be really nice with coffee or tea or ice cream or whipped cream and berries. It would also be good with a lemon glaze. I baked it for 55 minutes and in retrospect I probably should have taken it out sooner but it didn’t seem quite done, again this could be my oven

I liked it but will keep searching for a pound cake like my favorite Sara Lee Cake. I think I am ridiculously picky sometimes. Β How did that Jingle go “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee”? Although good I probably won’t make it again, do any of you have a great pound cake recipe? One thats light and dense? Let me know, my quest continues.

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103 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love this, Suzanne! Your cake is beautiful, but I’m glad you shared your truth that it still doesn’t match up to your memories of the Sara Lee. I have some foods like that- trying to replicate the holy grail it feels like. πŸ™‚ I tried two different homemade Oreo recipes before admitting that i really just like the Nabisco ones exactly the way they are, chemicals, lard and all. πŸ™‚ My nanny always made pound cakes. I’ll see if I can find her recipe for you to try. xo

    September 19, 2015
    • Thanks Em, years ago on Food Network there was an episode where they went into a place that made pound cakes, they were homemade type not mass produced. They did not give the recipe it’s their secret but they said that to produce a light pound cake you have to separate the eggs and fold in the egg whites, I may try that but have to find the recipe to use that method with, This cake has a lot of butter I would like to try oil and butter maybe and fold in egg whites. Yes please let me iknow if you find Nan’s recipe.

      September 19, 2015
  2. wowie!! This looks perfect!! πŸ˜€

    September 19, 2015
  3. Ah, the proverbial quest for perfection! I think any cook is on the same mission! 😜
    Cannot judge the taste but it sure looks beautiful!
    Have a great weekend!

    September 19, 2015
    • Thanks Francesca, yes the quest continues. It’s terrible when you have in mind exactly how it would be and when you taste it you are disappointed. I think I knew going in that it would probably disappoint but I don’t mean to disparage the cake, it is a good cake it’s just not what I wanted.

      September 19, 2015
  4. Suzanne I love that you share your experiments with us, not just the 100 percent-ers. You produced a gorgeous cake. I’m sure it’s still delicious, if just not what you had in mind. Have a satisfying Saturday. Hugs!

    September 19, 2015
    • Thanks Teagan, yes I do love to experiment. I wrapped and froze the cake and will figure out what to use it for another day. It was a disappointment simply because it wasn’t what I had in mind not that it wasn’t good. I think a lemon glaze will be nice on it.

      September 19, 2015
  5. This looks so lovely! I love pound cake and this looks very moist and delicious! I haven’t made one for years so this got me thinking! I will get to it!

    September 19, 2015
    • Thanks Lynz. I am going to continue trying to find the right recipe not sure what I will do with this one. It’s in the freezer and I will use it for some sort of dessert.

      September 19, 2015
  6. I love pound cake – they’re so versatile. I love them with red berries and Greek yoghurt. The texture of this one looks quite nice…

    September 19, 2015
    • It’s nice, but too heavy for me. I like my cakes very light. I am a big fan of Chiffon cake and have a fantastic recipe for one that is so light you almost have to weigh it down. LOL. Thanks so much and hope you are feeling ok.

      September 19, 2015
  7. Hi Suzanne. I know exactly what you mean. The light airy pound cake is something to behold! I love using pound cake for strawberry shortcake and I had this one bookmarked but never got around to making it. Interesting read and well, gotta love Smitten Kitchen… πŸ™‚

    http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/08/lighter-airy-pound-cake/

    September 19, 2015
    • Have you made Deb’s pound cake? I will look at that recipe thank you so much.

      September 19, 2015
      • I never got around to making it yet, but it’s been bookmarked for quite some time. What’d you think of the technique? She mentions this which I thought would make a difference for sure:

        “The brilliance of this pound cake is all of the things that have been done to make it airier than a standard pound cake: the repeated sifting, the whipped egg whites and a little extra help from baking powder.”

        September 19, 2015
      • Oh…just what I just found:

        http://www.copykat.com/2009/02/04/sara-lee-pound-cake/

        September 19, 2015
      • WOW! Ha why didn’t I think of that looking under copycat recipes. Making that for sure thank you so much!

        September 19, 2015
      • I just had a chance to look at Deb’s light pound cake, it looks too similar to what I have made in the past, it doesn’t have the tight crumb and even with the whipped egg whites it still looks on the heavy side to me. I think the technique is good, a lot of whipping and separating the eggs will make for a lighter cake for sure. I use that same technique or similar in my Tender Yellow cake but use oil rather than butter, it has a lovely texture and is light as a feather, similar to a chiffon cake. I love the copy cat recipe you found, can’t wait to try that! Thank you so much.

        September 19, 2015
  8. The cake looks amazing. I admire your ability to keep on with the quest! πŸ™‚

    September 19, 2015
    • I am keeping on, will continue my quest. On another subject I am still trying to find the Israeli cous cous you recommended thats another quest. So far none of the stores I went to carried it. Thanks Ronit.

      September 19, 2015
      • Interesting. I’m not sure where in Brooklyn you live, but around Kings Highway there are quite a few Kosher/Israeli food stores that always carry it. .
        Another option is to get it online via Amazon, Walmart and such.
        I hope it helps. Let me know if not, I will be happy to send you a bag. πŸ™‚

        September 19, 2015
  9. Now I need the perfect pound cake recipe too… :/ I have only made a couple of pound cakes, but they did seem too dense. Ugh. Can’t wait for you to find the recipe we are all waiting for! πŸ˜‰

    September 19, 2015
    • I know it’s maddening. Maybe this is the way pound cake is supposed to be, after all it’s a pound of everything supposedly but I am a light as air type of cake person. Thanks Josette, if you come across one let me know.

      September 19, 2015
  10. I can understand your dilemma Suzanne, you probably have to add some chemicals to come up with a replica of a Sara Lee cake . Your pound cake looks very good. Have a wonderful weekend.

    September 19, 2015
    • Ha! Fresh out of chemicals. I know there is a recipe out there that I will love.

      September 19, 2015
  11. Hi Suzanne, well my friend your quest to discover a closer version of your beloved “Sara Lee” pound cake is admirable. Check with Tux @ Brooklyn Homemaker, that guy can bake – he may have a suggestion? Cheryl

    September 19, 2015
    • Suzanne I checked with Mother and she reminded me that I often make Sara Lee Pound Cake in a version of simply cutting the pound cake (Sara Lee) in half or in thirds and making a lemon whipped cream in between the layers and a blueberry compote/syrup over the top. Then she reminded me of the orange cherry ones I’ve made in the past. True enough those are posted on TK! When I am in a rush and company is here I’ll whip up good old Sara Lee-so in effect I’m there with ya! LOL Cheryl Pssst: There is two frozen in my freezer and my Mom is laughing her head off right now while I type this to you my friend. XO

      September 19, 2015
      • Ha, thats so funny another Sara Lee fan!! I love it. I honestly don’t understand my quest, I guess I just like to conquer something. That sounds awesome, I also use Sara Lee for a trifle, it’s so good!!!

        September 19, 2015
      • Yes, that sounds great! I wonder if we could customize Tiramisu-instead of lady fingers or equivalent cut Sara Lee Pound Cake into strips, add the remaining ingredients into layers. I am going to try that one! A new creation by golly! Woo-Hoo Cheryl

        September 19, 2015
      • Love it I bet you could just don’t use as much of the liquid so it won’t get soggy. You can do so much with that pound cake!

        September 19, 2015
      • Well…I am going to experiment next week one day with one! I’ll let you know how it goes! Mom loves the idea (She’s Italian you know!).

        September 19, 2015
  12. It looks good to me but then I have no idea about the Sara Lee one!

    September 19, 2015
    • It’s ok Elaine, thanks but I will continue. Have to figure out what to do with the cake in the freezer now.

      September 19, 2015
  13. skd #

    It has turned out so beautifully Suzanne. I don’t think I even want the Sara Lee recipe. This one is ultimate. Lovely uniform crust. Inside looks light and airy . I love pound cakes and I can’t ask for more.

    September 19, 2015
    • I do too, pound cakes are one of my favorites and for me a good cup of coffee and pound cake is pretty heavenly. Thanks so much.

      September 19, 2015
  14. Wow Suzanne! This sure looks amazingly good πŸ™‚ I think I need to try the Sara Lee one !

    September 19, 2015
    • Would love your opinion of Sara Lee pound cake. They really are just so light and the crumb is so dense. I could sit down with a small one and eat half of it in one sitting. This one was heavy and I couldn’t get through 1 slice. Thanks Freda.

      September 19, 2015
      • Is it available at whole foods Suzanne ? Or any other store ! I rarely go to that aisle 😁 I really want to try it now !

        September 19, 2015
      • Hi Suzanne ! I tried the Sara Lee pound cake ! I see what you mean , for a pound cake it’s extremely light textured , the preservatives and additives definitely contribute to that without any question :p It sure was delightful though πŸ™‚

        September 29, 2015
      • I am sure the additives contribute to its texture, I still need to try the copy cat recipe I can’t help it I love Sara Lee Pound cake.

        September 29, 2015
  15. Wow what a scrumptious looking cake this is… yummm ..

    September 19, 2015
  16. Hi Suzanne,
    – First, your Classic Pound Cake here looks absolutely gorgeous and looks velvety and moist. But you are right, visually it does not look like Sara Lee’s, but I am certain that it tastes better than Sara Lee’s.
    – When I came to the USA, my dessert to go to was always Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake! Because, it was the closest looking and tasting thing to the Japanese version of castella. When I posted castella recipe (http://fae-magazine.com/2013/11/20/castella-kasutera/), I was still a novice in making it and since have become better at it. Now, my castellas are better tasting, homemade version, look-alike of Sara Lee’s. The interesting thing is, Japanese castella recipe does not use butter. The other interesting thing is that you really cannot tell or mind it at all. If you are discriminating (don’t know a better word for it in English) that the recipe has to have the butter, maybe adding a little butter to the castella recipe may work (I have to think a little). The key to getting the fine texture is by thorough beating of the egg whites and tapping the baking pan many, many times on the counter, to get rid of the trapped air before baking. You are a recipe developer, check out my castella and you just might come-up with the recipe of your desire. πŸ™‚

    September 19, 2015
    • It looks amazing Fae, just like pound cake and what is most amazing is that it contains no fat. The cake looks so moist and tender. Thank you so much for that. I saved it to evernote!

      September 19, 2015
  17. Suzanne,

    Amazing-looking! I wish I could have a slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Hope you are doing well.

    -Dave

    September 19, 2015
  18. I know the Sara Lee pound cake of which you speak Suzanne! I concur that it is surprisingly delicious for something you find in the freezer section. Glad to hear you are getting closer to the perfect cake. I have a recipe passed down from my grandma that I absolutely adore but it is a pretty dense cake.

    September 19, 2015
  19. Love the experimenting Suzanne! I really like the crust and the crumb texture of this one. Do let us know when you find the perfect one, I would love to try it πŸ™‚

    September 20, 2015
  20. Suzanne, your Pound Cake looks amazing and I bet it tastes delicious too! πŸ™‚

    September 20, 2015
  21. Looks great to me Suzanne. But if you’re still searching for one close to Sara Lee’s, I would maybe try Entemann’s pound cake recipe (it’s on Food.com). I’ve had it bookmarked for a while, but haven’t tried it yet. But it does seem like it would be much more lighter than most pound cakes πŸ™‚

    September 20, 2015
    • I have never tried Entemans pound cake but will look up the recipe. I sure it is light like Sara Lee and I will also admit that I really like Entemans. Thank you so much Jess.

      September 20, 2015
  22. Hi Suzanne, I have not made a pound cake in quite some time, if you find a lighter version I sure would love the recipe. Also the pound cake that you posted is very impressive looking. Hope you are having a wonderful week-end!

    September 20, 2015
    • Thanks, I am having company for dinner this week and will thaw and serve with whipped cream and stewed fruit I think. Maybe a rest in the freezer will be good we will see thank you Cheri, will definitely let everyone know when/if I find the holy grail of pound cake!

      September 20, 2015
  23. If this isnΒ΄t the holy grail of pound cake we are all doomed!! Looks amazingly perfect to me, I would love to try it, Suzanne!

    September 20, 2015
    • It is good but I hold everything up to the Sara Lee cake and that is my holy grail. Thanks Viviana it is a good cake but the search goes on!

      September 20, 2015
  24. Perfect brown outer layer and moist inner layer.. Cake turned perfect dear

    September 20, 2015
  25. I believe I have the perfect pound cake recipe. It is my grandmother’s recipe, she is 96. She made it for me my entire life and now I make it. It is a sour cream pound cake, very Southern, easy and always comes out perfect! You pound cake also looks delicious. I am a sucker for pound cake!

    September 20, 2015
    • Would really love to see your Grandmothers recipe. Love sour cream in cake, gives tang, makes it moist and tender. Love it!!! Would love for you to share if you don’t mind.

      September 20, 2015
  26. Suzanne, your pound cake looks perfect and delicious!

    September 20, 2015
  27. Sandhya #

    Suzanne,
    Your pound cake looks perfect to me! I really admire your quest to find a recipe you absolutely love.
    I am drooling now looking at your pound cake pictures and I have already had my dinner and dessert:)

    September 20, 2015
  28. I love a good pound cake for breakfast, dessert or toasted! I add sour cream to my pound cake which I like a lot. I just started to get emails from Wilton (like I needed more) but I have been buying their products for years and years πŸ™‚

    September 21, 2015
  29. classic cake indeed! it will never go out of fashion!

    September 21, 2015
  30. Oh that’s a tough one Suzanne… though good to have a benchmark and goal for what you’re trying to create! This pound cake does look lovely, but look forward to hearing if you eventually find the right recipe to satisfy your tastebuds! Ages ago, I posted a recipe for lemon pound cake, which was trying to replicate the Starbucks version. It has a lot less butter and uses some sunflower or vegetable oil in place of the extra butter. Haven’t made it for a while now, but remember it being a hit with the family… πŸ™‚

    September 21, 2015
    • I am heading over to your site to look at that recipe. I actually prefer cakes that use oil or at least some oil rather than all butter. Thanks for the tip.

      September 21, 2015
      • My regular muffin recipe also uses oil instead of butter and crumb is so tender and light… definitely worth considering with your pound cake quest! πŸ™‚

        September 21, 2015
  31. What a perfect texture and color to the cake Suzanne! It’s rich and comforting.
    A classic!!

    September 21, 2015
  32. I’ve just had a nosy at the copykat recipe (Seana’s link), and it looks very similar to a Madeira cake excepting for the added spices. Hmm, haven’t made that in ages! I’ve never had pound cake before, even though I’ve seen lots of recipes. I wouldn’t mind trying the copykat, and fold in the egg whites. Would be interesting to compare.

    September 22, 2015
    • I will try that recipe. I am very interested to see how it is. Didn’t you post s Madeira cake on the blog?

      September 22, 2015
      • Yes, I’ve just had a look at that. Both recipes are similar. I’m curious about using the spices as well.

        September 22, 2015
      • I will try it we should both do it and compare notes

        September 22, 2015
  33. This is a classic Suzanne– would fit well into so many eating occasions! Beautiful on the plate.

    September 24, 2015
  34. Your pound cake looks lovely but your story reminded me that my Mom used to buy those little Sara Lee chocolate cakes now and then when she was pinched for time. We always seemed to eat them half frozen and I loved it! πŸ™‚ Darn it, I’m going to have to see if they still have them.

    I have a marvelous pound cake recipe from a friend who’s long since passed away – it’s the only pound cake I’ve ever liked, very simple. I haven’t made it for years. I am guessing you may have tried something like this because it’s pretty basic – but relies on technique. I think it’s always like that – the simpler something is in ingredients, the more important the technique is. I can’t really tell you how close it is or isn’t to Sara Lee, but it is really wonderful.

    Ingredients are 2 cups butter, 3 cups sugar, 6 eggs, 4 cups of flour, 3/4 cup milk, a teaspoon each of almond and vanilla extract. They key is the butter has to be perfectly softened so it bends and still holds it’s shape and then it is whipped for several minutes (at least 5 or so) before the sugar goes in, then whipped until fluffy. If you can feel the granules of sugar if you rub the mixture between your fingers, it’s not whipped enough. Eggs room temp, added one at a time and mixed in very well. Flour should be measured, then sifted twice, and added alternately with milk, barely beating, and I mean only for a few seconds, then stop and scrape and add the next addition until JUST mixed, extracts added by hand. Bake 300 for 1 hr 30 min to 1 hr 40 min. Turn it upside down and cool it for 15 minutes. I do this by putting it over a wine bottle. Empty – I don’t want to damage any wine with the heat. Turn it out and cool on a rack.

    September 27, 2015
    • Thank you so much, yes I think the techique is very important. Making sure the butter is perfectly soft and creaming it thoroughly. I like that recipe thank you so much. I will have to give it a try.

      September 28, 2015
      • πŸ™‚ I’m thinking I might have to make it again sometime, too – maybe this fall…

        September 29, 2015
  35. Oh Suzanne, where were you a year ago when all my mother would bake was pound cake to find to figure out the best way to keep it moist everytime she baked it LOL. I just love this recipe. I may have to try it myself, and not tell my mom lol.

    Kia / KTS
    http://www.houseofkts.com

    September 28, 2015
  36. This looks absolutely Delicious Suzanne!!! I must make this for sure so easy…add some lemon or lime zest oh my I want some now!!! I will be making this soon I will tell ya!!! πŸ™‚

    September 28, 2015
  37. Yes lemon or lime zest would be very good in this and PLEASE do let me know if you make it would love your thoughts. Thanks Amy.

    September 28, 2015
  38. I appreciate you sharing your quest for the perfect pound cake. I understand looking for that perfect recipe. I am on one for the perfect homemade bar-b-q sauce that is dark, sweet, and spicy. Even though you said this one wasn’t what you wanted, it sure does look moist and like it would taste wonderful. I look forward to following your quest and hope you find the one you are looking for, Suzanne!

    September 30, 2015
    • The cake is good, but yes not what I wanted. I know what you mean about BBQ sauce, I have made it before and one time it was great but I forgot what I put in it. I just start throwing stuff in a bowl, I know it was tomato sauce, molasses, brown sugar, mustard some assorted dried chili peppers that I had on hand that I soaked and blended, some apple cider vinegar. Can’t remember what else. I could have thrown in Hoisin sauce but forgot. It tasted realluy good but for the life of me I can’t replicate it. Let me know if you find that great recipe for BBQ sauce and thanks Shari.

      September 30, 2015
  39. What a beautiful pound cake Suzanne. I know exactly what you mean about the Sara Lee pound cake, there’s nothing like it. But this came pretty close I was happy to learn from your post, it looks pretty moist too and I just love that yellow color and the brown top. I will bookmark this and watch the video soon πŸ™‚

    October 1, 2015
    • Thanks so much Loretta. There is nothing like a Sara Lee pound cake, this one is good but not as light and the texture isn’t the same. It is a good recipe though.

      October 4, 2015
  40. kushigalu #

    WOW! This cake looks so beautiful and perfect!

    October 1, 2015
  41. CC #

    You’re looks lovely, Suzanne- but I know what you mean if it’s not exactly what you’re looking for. I think America’s Test Kitchen has a good recipe. Sorry I’ve been out of touch, I’m just trying to catch up after all that travelling and life things get in the way (like plumbing leaks and credit card fraud- how about 2 cards in one day?!) Oh well, as long as we’re healthy. Hope you are doing well! CC

    October 4, 2015
    • I followed your travels and what a whirlwind. I am so sorry to hear about the CC fraud. That’s horrible and I hope it gets straightenout quickly. The cake is very nice looking and tastes nice even though it’s not what I was looking for It really is a good cake.Thanks so much.

      October 4, 2015
  42. Reblogged this on ravenhawks' magazine and commented:
    That looks so good

    October 8, 2015
  43. Delightful. I cannot resist a slice of excellent, homemade pound cake. Yours looks divine!

    October 15, 2015
    • Thanks Serena. It is a very pretty cake. I took one slice and froze the rest. I wanted to see how it was after a rest in the freezer for a few weeks. It froze well and defrosted even better. I actually liked it better after it was frozen.

      October 15, 2015

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