The best moist and tender classic pound cake that always gets rave reviews! Buttery vanilla flavor with a velvety soft crumb!

 

Visual learner? Watch me make this Classic Southern Pound Cake from start to finish!


The Chit Chat

If you’re looking to make the best Southern pound cake you’ve come to the right place! I’ve included everything you need to know to make a gorgeous pound cake with a buttery golden crust and moist and tender on the inside! Let’s get into it!

A pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, a pound of butter, and a pound of flour = a pound cake! Or at least that’s what the original recipe claimed.  Classic pound cake has changed a bit over the years (thank God!) but we’ll get into all that in a bit.

Pound cakes are my jam! Growing up, my grandma Barb made pound cakes weekly for us and other people. I’ve joyfully watched and absorbed all of her techniques. You can watch her beautiful hands in action while making this delicious cream cheese pound cake right here.  Today’s pound cake recipe is a popular one that you’ll find in many Southern church cookbooks and passed down through families. I’m keeping it as is, only decreasing the milk by a quarter cup to get the texture that I like. Also adding more extract to enhance the flavor a bit. Otherwise, it’s as old-fashioned as it gets!

I’ve been making pound cakes on this blog since it started! They are one of my favorite cakes hands down! It wasn’t until this week that I realized I’d gotten so caught up in flavored pound cakes that I’d never posted a regular classic pound cake before!!

How the heck did that even happen? Oh well, time to fix that and I’m so thrilled to do so! I could hardly sleep I was so excited about creating this post lol.

Warning: If you take this homemade pound cake to an event,  people WILL ask you to make it again and again. You might even become the “The Pound Cake” lady. I’ll let you decide if that is a good or bad thing!

classic pound cake recip

The History Of Pound Cake

I don’t think I’ve ever met a Southerner who’s never had pound cake. Pound Cakes is about as Southern as Fried Chicken, but it didn’t originate from the South. It’s believed that pound cake originated from Northern Europe in the early 1700s and consisted of a pound of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs.  There was no leaving, liquid, or extract in the original pound cake recipe. Resulting in a heavy, dense cake that was sweet and somewhat dry in texture.

As pound cake made its way throughout the world the “classic pound cake” got several makeovers. I like to believe the South is responsible for upgrading it to the dense yet moist, velvety soft classic pound cake that we know and love today.

Interested in learning more about the history of Southern foods? Check on my All About Southern Cooking hub!

southern pound cake

southern pound cake

Pound Cake Ingredients

Pound cake consists of very basic ingredients that are pantry staples. Before preparing a pound cake recipe you want to make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature. For the best pound cakes use the best of the best if you can! There is nothing like a from-scratch pound cake made with farm-fresh eggs, high-quality vanilla extract, and homemade butter from the farmer’s market.  Now let’s take a look at each ingredient.

The Flour:

What flour is best for pound cake? I prefer to use unbleached all-purpose flour when making pounds cakes but cake flour can be used as well. Cake flour will give the cake a fluffier, tender crumb though, which is not really classic for pound cakes. Since I prefer pound cakes with a denser, moist crumb, all-purpose is my go-to, and I always have it in my pantry. Be sure to measure the flour correctly. To do this: Sift the flour and spoon it into the measuring cup until overflowing, give the cup a few taps in case there are air pockets, and then level it off with the back of a knife to prevent using too little or too much flour.

The Eggs:

Pound cakes require a lot of eggs to create that dense texture.  Some folks say that you shouldn’t use fresh eggs in pound cakes because they don’t mix into the batter as easily and can result in overmixing. I’ve always used my chicken’s fresh eggs for pound cakes and it comes out fantastic, so who knows! When my chickens aren’t laying I use the fresh store-bought eggs and it still comes out great. So pick whatever route you want to try out.  Just make sure to use large eggs, that are room temperature.

The Butter:

Butter is what gives pound cakes their signature buttery flavor and light yellow color. I normally use butter and butter-flavored shortening for my pound cakes, but with this classic, I’m going with all-butter! Make sure the butter is room temperature and unsalted. Do not microwave it. Just let the butter sit out until it is very soft.

The Sugar

Fine granulated sugar is best for pound cake since the crumb is finer. It will prevent your pound cake from having those little white spots.  Don’t let all the sugar scare you. Classic pound cake is meant to be a sweet treat.

The Milk

Milk is not required in some pound cake recipes but I absolutely love to add it. It adds a bit of forgiveness to the batter. As you’ll discover from the many pound cakes on this site, I love switching up what type of milk/liquid I use for pound cakes. Sometimes it’s half n half, buttermilk, or heavy whipping cream. And sometimes it’s even soda! For my classic pound cakes, I swear by a little bit of whole milk. It makes the cake so moist and tender and plays well with the other ingredients. Milk should be at room temperature.

The Leavening

Since pounds cakes are such dense cakes, you can totally get away with using only salt as leavening. However, I like to add a bit of baking powder just to improve the crumb texture and lift. This recipe uses both salt and baking powder, as most Southern-style pound cakes do.

The Extracts

Adding vanilla extract is a given with pound cakes. A light vanilla flavor really enhances the flavor so use the best brand. For my classic pound cakes, I also like to add a little bit of pure lemon extract (and coconut extract if I have some on hand.)  You won’t be able to taste these two extracts much but it really does something to enhance the flavor. I stole this tip from Grandma Barb.

best pound cake recipe

How To Make The BEST Pound Cake Recipe

Now that you’re hip to the basic ingredients let’s get right into the steps needed to prepare the BEST pound cake!

  1.  Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 10-cup bundt cake pan with a thin layer of shortening (I use butter-flavored shortening for this. It gives the crust a nice golden crunch and buttery flavor) and then very lightly coat it with flour. Set aside. (If using loaf pans use two 9.5 loaf pans)
  2. In a large bowl add sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together well to make sure all of the dry ingredients are combined. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, cream together butter until fluffy.
  4. Add sugar gradually while mixing at low speed until combined and fluffy. Mix for three minutes (set timer)
  5. Mix in eggs one or two at a time just until combined. Keep your mixture on low speed.
  6. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients while alternating with the whole milk. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Mix until batter is combined and fluffy. Keep the mixer on low speed. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon extract.
  8. Spoon batter evenly into prepared bundt pan. Shake and tap the pan on the counter to even out the batter and release any air pockets.
  9. Place on the middle rack and bake for 1 hour and 10-20 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the pound cake comes out clean.
  10. Place pan on a cooling rack until it is cool enough to touch but still warm.
  11. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place it on a wire rack to finish cooling.
  12. Slice the cooled cake and serve. *Remember pound cake is one of those desserts that gets better the next day.

easy pound cake recipe

The secret to a moist pound cake recipe is this…

What is the secret to a moist pound cake? There are several ways to ensure your pound cake comes out moist and tender but one of my favorite ways is to add a little milk (sometimes buttermilk, heavy whipping cream, or half n half) and baking powder! It’s like magic and results in the most velvety-soft pound cake ever! A few other major tips to remember:

  • Cream the butter and sugar at low speed for about 3 minutes. Creaming at high speeds or for long periods will result in gluey streaks in your finished pound cake.
  • Don’t overmix the eggs. Once you start adding eggs to the batter, you want to mix them just until combined. Do you hear me? Yes, I’m using a bossy tone because I want you to be great! Once you can’t see them in the batter then move along to the next egg. Overbeating will cause the bottom crust to separate from the cake. This isn’t really a huge deal, since it often settles back down as it cools. But if you want a perfect pound cake then you want to avoid this.

How to store pound cake

To store pound cake I like to slice it, wrap it in plastic wrap, and store it in an air-tight container. It really helps retain the moisture and freshness for days. Pound cake also freezes and reheats very well.

What causes gummy streaks in pound cake?

So you’ve made a pound cake, removed it from the pan and it’s freakin GORGEOUS!! So golden and smelling delicious! When you slice and plate it you realize there are gummy streaks! What the heck!!!

Yeah, that sucks!! If you’ve made several pound cakes in your day then chances are you’ve run into these streaks a few times. It can happen to the best of bakers so give yourself some grace, there are better things to stress over.

Ok, what is it? Those gluey streaks aren’t streaks of undone cake. Your cake is more than likely done and will taste just fine. Some people actually prefer the taste of the streaks (like my husband). Those gluey pound cake streaks happen when your over-cream the butter and sugar. The cake rises in the oven and then it quickly collapses a bit while cooling which causes those gummy streaks.  To prevent this, use a low speed with creaming and do so just until combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  pound cake

Pound Cake Trouble Shooting:

The bottom crust separated (deflated) from the pound cake in the oven.  You more than likely over mix the eggs. You only need to mix the eggs into the batter until combined.

My pound cake overflowed in the oven? This recipe has baking powder which will cause it to rise more. It’s super important that you measure your baking powder accurately and that you don’t overbeat the batter.  I always use this 10-cup bundt pan for my pound cakes. If you often have issues with overflowing pound cakes that include baking powder, try going to a 12-cup bundt pan.

Is this a traditional pound cake recipe? No, traditional pound cake does not have leavening, liquids, or extracts. This is a classic Southern pound cake.

My pound cake has gummy streaks: *See section above for details

traditional pound cake

How To Garnish Pound Cake

Pound cake is such a versatile dessert! It makes a great layer in dessert trifles, grilled for summertime strawberry shortcakes, or simply eaten plain or with fresh berries! I  prefer it plain Jane or topped with hot, buttery peaches or syrupy strawberries and mounds of homemade whipped cream.

Happy Pound Cake Making!

 


southern pound cake

Get the Recipe: Southern Pound Cake

5 from 15 ratings
Southern pound cake with a moist and velvety crumb!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients
 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (measured correctly. See note.)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder (measured correctly. See note.)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cups unsalted butter (room temperature), (3 sticks)
  • 3 cups granulated cane sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure coconut extract (optional but yum)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 10-cup bundt cake pan with a thin layer of shortening (I use butter-flavored shortening for this. It gives the crust a nice golden crunch and buttery flavor) and then very lightly coat it with flour. Set aside. (If using loaf pans use two 9.5 loaf pans) Set aside.
  • In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together well to make sure all of the dry ingredients are combined. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, cream together butter until creamy.
  • Gradually add sugar while mixing at low speed. Mix for about 3 minutes until creamy and combined. (set timer).
  • Mix in eggs one or two at a time, just until combined. Keep your mixture on low speed and do not overmix.
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients alternating with milk. Start and end with dry ingredients. Mix until batter is combined and fluffy. Keep the mixer on low speed. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon extract, and coconut extract if using.
  • Spoon batter evenly into prepared bundt pan. Shake and tap the pan on the counter to even out the batter and release any air pockets.
  • Place on the middle rack and bake for 1 hour and 10-20 minutes (check on it at the 70-minute mark) or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the pound cake comes out clean. (Ovens vary and you may need to add a few more minutes) To be on the safe side, I peel up a piece of the cake to make sure it's done. Since this is the bottom of the cake nobody will see it.
  • Place pan on a cooling rack until it is cool enough to touch but still warm.
  • Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  • Slice the cooled cake and serve. *Remember pound cake is one of those desserts that gets even better the next day.

Video

Notes

Measuring flour: To measure flour, first sift the flour and spoon it into the measuring cup until overflowing, give the cup a few taps in case there are any air pockets, and then level it off with the back of the knife to prevent using too little or too much flour. Do not pack the flour.
Measure baking powder & salt: Scoop from the container and level it off with the back of a knife.
Cuisine: American, southern
Course: cake, Dessert
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.

 


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