Perfect Pound Cake is buttery and sweet, with a hint of vanilla. This cake is rich, with the flavor of shortbread cookies, but still light as a feather. Serve with fresh whipped cream and berries as a fancy dessert or brunch dish – can also be made ahead and frozen.
This delicious , moist Perfect Pound Cake is like a “little black dress” because it goes with everything and is perfect for just about any occasion. You can make it fancy with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry, use two slices to make strawberry shortcake, dip chunks into fondue or cut it up and use it in a trifle. Just like the “little black dress”, the possibilities are endless.
Pound cake is a favorite dessert at our house. When blueberries or raspberries are in season, I’ll make a Glazed Lemon Pound Cake to serve with the them. The glaze adds some nice sweetness to the berries!
Many (and I do mean MANY) years ago I worked as a librarian. I know…it’s hard to believe that a woman who does not know the meaning of the word “Quiet” could ever work in a library! Anyway, the library was always giving away overstock books and I got my grubby little hands on an old copy of Campbell’s Great American Cookbook. It sounds silly but this cookbook completely inspired me, and this recipe is adapted from it.
All this time later, I still have it and even though some of the pages are unbound or stuck together (banana bread mishap) it is still my go-to reference for the kitchen. Do you have a cookbook like this, one favorite that you use all the time?
HOW TO MAKE A PERFECT POUND CAKE
Here are the cast of characters in this Pound Cake drama. The milk and nutmeg are missing! They probably hate to have their picture taken. That is exactly why I don’t like group photos!
- 3 and 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
- 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk (I use 1% milk)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Get things rolling by preheating your oven to 325 F. Then, in your large mixing bowl add the butter and sugar. (Wait…Don’t lick the butter wrappers yet because you will use them in a minute to grease up your baking pan.)
Set up your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. I love my powerful KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Mixer from Amazon, but a hand mixer will work too!
On medium speed, cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. It will become light and fluffy and sing like an angel..not really, but it will be light and fluffy.
While you are waiting what seems like forever (5 minutes)for the mixer, measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg into a bowl. Set this aside.
I love to use this handled measuring bowl from Amazon to mix up the dry ingredients. The handle makes it so much easier to add things into that tiny space between the edge of the bowl and the stand mixer beaters!
After the 5 minutes of creaming are up…it is time to add the eggs to the batter. Now, since we never make a mistake in the kitchen…EVER (really?)…crack the eggs one at a time into a cup (to make sure the egg is not bad) and then add them one at a time into the mixer, set to medium speed.
Let the mixer do it’s thing for about 45 seconds each time before adding the next egg. If you are using medium or large eggs, you can add in a 7th egg to make up the difference if you like. Add in the vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds.
Let me tell you, when I first started baking, I thought I would be super efficient by cracking all of the eggs into a cup first, then plopping them one at a time into the mixer bowl. (Like I saw it done on TV). Well, I had cracked three eggs into my cup and of course number 4 was bad and you guessed it…all four eggs had to be thrown out. The only thing hurt that day was my pride, but it’s one of those lessons you don’t forget!
After the eggs are beaten in, the dry ingredients get added. First, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients into the bowl and beat on low speed just until mixed in (to not overwork the flour), then add 1/2 the milk and with the mixer still on low, beat the milk in until just blended.
Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula between mixing in the dry ingredients and the milk. Repeat with the other half of the dry ingredients and the milk.
This is a good time to grease and flour your baking pan. Take those butter wrappers and wipe down your pan really well. Then add a tablespoon or two of flour and work the pan around until the flour has coated all of the butter. Tap out any excess flour and you are good to go!
Pour the batter into the baking pan (a 12 cup cake pan will hold all of the batter) and fill no more than 2/3 full. Smooth the top with a spoon or spatula. If you have extra batter, just bake it in another pan or muffin tin. Watch the baking time carefully because it will bake in a lot less time than a big cake.
Place the pan in the 325 F oven and bake for about 85 minutes (1 hour and 25 minutes), depending on your oven and the size of the pan you use. Start checking your cake at 75 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick stuck in the cake comes out clean and the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before inverting and removing the cake from the pan. It may not pop right out so just let the pan sit upside down on the plate for a few and it should release.
This cake smells so good when finally released from the pan. The butter in the cake crust smells like toasted coconut. It is worth making this pound cake just for that heavenly aroma! And if you love shortbread cookies you will love this cake, it tastes just like them!
Later, I will need to hide this cake and forget where I put it…for my own good!
Perfect Pound Cake
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- Preheat your oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt cake pan.
- In a large mixing bowl add the butter and sugar. On medium speed using a paddle attachment or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time into the mixer, set to medium speed. Beat for 45 seconds after each egg. Add the vanilla to the mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds.
- .In a medium bowl, measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. At low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture, and beat until just blended. Then add 1/2 the milk and with the mixer still on low, beat the milk in until just blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula between mixing in the dry ingredients and the milk. Repeat the process with the remaining half of the dry ingredients and the milk.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and fill no more than 2/3 full. Smooth the top with a spoon or spatula. Place the pan into the 325° F preheated oven and bake for 85 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean and the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before inverting and removing the cake from the pan. Allow to cool before serving.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING
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Post Updated March 2018