Pound Cake: Simple and Sublime

Pound Cake with Strawberries and Blueberries

Sometimes there is no substitute for simple and easy. Recipes with a few ingredients that work well together and that are almost no-fail simply can’t be beat. My mom’s pound cake recipe is exactly that. It has a short list of ingredients – six to be exact – and with the help of a stand mixer it comes together in a matter of minutes. It does take a while to cook, about an hour, during which time it fills the house with all sorts of wonderful and homey aromas. And it’s a wonderful vehicle for whatever fruits are in season: strawberries, peaches, and blackberries to name a few. It’s also great toasted and topped with grilled pineapple and some fresh whipped cream. Or, cut it into pieces and dip it in chocolate for a fondue. Really – the options are endless. Pound cake is one of the best gifting and potluck foods because it travels well, holds up for several days on the counter, and is a classic favorite that so many people truly enjoy.

In our family cookbook my mom notes that she has used this pound cake recipe for years and even though she’s tried a variety of other recipes, she always comes back to this one as the best and I have to agree. I’ve tried pound cake recipes that incorporate sour cream, whipped egg whites, and all manner of other ingredients.

The bottom line is this cake is easy as pie to make, even if you don’t make desserts. All you need is a mixer (hand or stand) and a bundt pan. You could even make this in one of those fancy new shaped bundt pans from Nordicware for an interesting visual, but it’s not really necessary because the cake’s taste will outshine any trappings of shape or presentation as soon as folks dive in.

Recipe: Pound Cake


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 16
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt or tube pan well with cooking spray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, mixing well to incorporate each egg before adding the next.
  4. Add the vanilla to the bowl and mix well to combine.
  5. Sift or whisk the flour and salt together. Add the flour/salt mixture to the bowl slowly, mixing well to combine. The batter will be thick.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake the cake at 350 degrees for one hour or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and set the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  9. Ease the cake out of the pan and onto the rack. Let cool completely before serving. The cake will stay fresh for 3-5 days if covered by a cake dome or wrapped in plastic wrap.

Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks

  • This recipe has such few ingredients that it pays to use the best ones you can lay your hands on. I typically use King Arthur flour, organic European-style butter, cage-free local eggs, and high-quality vanilla extract. That said, it’s hard to screw up these flavors and my mom made this recipe with margarine for years before we all knew better, so don’t let a lack of high-end ingredients stop you from making this recipe.
  • You can use loaf pans instead of a bundt pan for this recipe. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and rotate them in your oven once during cooking. These cakes will need less time in the oven, but exactly how long depends on the size of your loaf pans. I’d start checking them at 40 minutes or so. You could also use the baby bundt pans for this recipe but I’d still plan to serve two people with each mini-cake. Watch the cooking time carefully with these smaller pans – start checking at about 30 minutes.
  • Instead of preparing the pan with cooking spray, you can butter and flour the pan instead. I like to use Baker’s Joy that combines a spray with flour.
  • It’s really hard to over-mix this cake, particularly when you’re creaming the butter and salt. It’s a great starter recipe for kids who want to make their own cake with minimal adult interference, and if they want to frost it, you can glaze it with a little milk and powdered sugar mixed together.
  • And while the basic recipe uses only vanilla for extra flavor beyond the sugar and butter, you could easily play around with the basic flavor profile without much concern for mucking up the recipe. I think almond extract and the zest of an orange would be lovely in the cake, while a little cinnamon and nutmeg along with some rum extract would give it a hint of fall flavor. I also think you could nix the vanilla extract and substitute vanilla sugar for the regular sugar for a richer vanilla taste.

1 Comment

  1. That looks so delicious! Great photograph :)


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