Recipe video above. Pound Cake is a classic, very buttery vanilla cake commonly made in loaf form. The crumb is quite dense compared to typical cakes, but when made well, it should be moist, soft and melt-in-your mouth, as this one is!This Pound Cake recipe is based on one called "The Perfect Pound Cake" from "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. She tested it over 40 times and we’ve tried it many ways as well, but couldn't improve on it. So I’ve taken the liberty of changing the name here to the BEST Pound Cake. :-)Please make sure the milk, butter and eggs are at room temperature, as directed in the recipe. This is especially important for Pound Cake.
Course: Sweet Baking
Keyword: best pound cake, pound cake
3tbspmilk, full fat, at room temperature
3large eggs, at room temperature (150 - 165g / 6oz total including shell, Note 1)
1 1/2tspvanilla extract
1cupcake flour, sifted (if using cup measures, measure after sifting, Note 2)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (165°C fan) with the shelf arranged so the loaf pan will sit in the middle of the oven.
Prepare pan: Grease a 21.5 x 11.4 x 6.9cm / 8.5 x 4" loaf pan with unsalted butter, then dust with flour, knocking out excess (Note 2)
Whisk wet: In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
Whisk dry: Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer. Beat for 30 seconds on Speed 1 using an electric beater or the stand mixer.
Add butter and half eggs: Add the softened butter and 1/2 of the egg mixture. Beat on Speed 1 until incorporated (about 30 - 40 secs) – it will become a thick batter. Increase to Speed 7 and continue to beat for 1 minute.
Add half of remaining egg mix: Scrape down the bowl. Add half the remaining egg mixture (ie. 1/4 of the original total) and beat 20 seconds on Speed 7.
Add remaining egg mix: Scrape down the sides again. Add all the remaining egg mixture (ie. 1/4 of the original total) and beat 20 seconds.
Fill pan: Scrape batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.
First bake (30 min): Bake for 30 minutes until top begins to split slightly.
Cut split (optional): Working quickly, open the oven (do not take pan out) and make a light cut with a small, sharp knife along the split (15 cm / 6") to help the split to open up nicely. Work fast – do not leave oven open for long or the cake will collapse.
Second bake (20 min): Bake another 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. If the cake is getting dark you can cover it with a loose sheet of foil towards the end of the bake time.
Cool: Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serving: Serve thick slices with any of the following or a combination – whipped cream and fruit (traditional); just butter; butter + honey (pictured in post); a fruit compote; mascarpone or thick yogurt with crushed nuts (pistachio would be fabulous!). See in post for more ideas.
1. Eggs at room temperature – The eggs need to be at room temperature and not fridge-cold, to ensure it incorporates properly into the batter and aerates properly when beaten. Quick way to warm up fridge-cold eggs: Place eggs in a large bowl, cover with warm tap water (just warm, not hot) and leave for 5 min. Wipe dry, then use per recipe.Egg size ("large eggs"): 50 – 55g / 2 oz per egg is the industry standard of sizes sold as “large eggs” in Australia and the US. If your eggs are significantly larger or smaller in size, just weigh different eggs and use 150-165g / 6 oz in total (including shell) or 135 – 150g / 5.4 oz in total excluding shell (useful if you need to use a partial egg to make up the total required weight. Crack eggs, beat whites and yolks together, THEN pour into a bowl to measure out what you need).2. Cake flour – This flour works considerably better for pound cake than using plain/all-purpose flour (see in post for comparison). It rises better, and has a more tender crumb.Measuring cake flour: If using cups, sift flour into a large bowl first, then scoop out a cup of flour. Level it using the back of a butter knife. This is the most accurate way to measure flour using cups instead of weighing it. I don't ask this of all recipes but pound cake requires a bit more accuracy than most cakes for best results. So sift first, then measure!3. Baking powder – If your baking powder has been sitting in the dark depths of your cupboard for a while, it's best to check it's still good - see here. Baking powder can be dead even if it’s not past the due date 4. Butter – Don’t let the butter get too soft and sloppy. This is a common error with cakes that call for butter to be creamed. Target 18°C/64°F for the butter. This is soft enough to be whipped, but you should not be left with a thick, shiny slick of grease on your finger when you poke it. If you get greasy fingers, this means the butter is too soft. The cake will not be as fluffy as intended, or the batter might split and be greasy.If the butter is >20C/68F, I would chill the butter a bit before using.5. Recipe source - Based on one called "The Perfect Pound Cake" from "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum.NOTE: Rose's recipe says 150g OR 1 1/2 cups of flour. But actually, 150g of flour is 1 Australian cup or 1 US cup + 2 tablespoons. 1 1/2 cups makes the batter too thick and reduces the tenderness of the crumb. So for simplicity purposes, I've left it as 1 cup whether Australian or US. We made it with 1 US cup and it works just fine. It domes slightly less but the crumb is just as good as using 1 Australian cup!6. Storage – Keeps for 4 to 5 days in an airtight container, not in fridge (unless it's very hot where you are). Freezes for 3 months. Best served warm or at room temperature. If it's a bit stale, lightly toast it or even just warm up slices in microwave to resurrect it!7. Nutrition per slice, assuming 10 slices.