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Appreciating pound cake

I just made a Sweet Potato Pound Cake whose ingredients I jotted down a while ago - I can't recall the source. I realize that I hadn't had pound cake for several years, the last time being to sample my DC's dessert when we had dinner at Jasper White's Summer Shack. It was toasted/grilled and accompanied, if memory serves, by brown sugar ice cream and grilled pineapple. I was skeptical about toasted pound cake but it was excellent.

For those unfamiliar, pound cake originated well before written recipes; the name comes from the traditional recipe, which was a pound each of sugar, butter, flour, and eggs. No leavening. Modern versions are usually not as rich, and do have baking powder and/or soda. They can have other flavorings and are found as everything from plain, unglazed loaves to layer cakes.

Pound cake used to be more popular than it is today, and it deserves reviving. It's simple to make - since it doesn't rise much it can be mixed up in one bowl, with just a wooden spoon.
It's good unadorned, but versatile enough to be the foundation for shortcake, ice cream with toppings, and a multitude of sauces. If your only taste memory is of the Sara Lee version (although it not bad), get out your mixing bowl and give it another chance!

What's your favorite recipe or accompaniment for pound cake?

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  1. This was my dear Aunt Mary's Sour Cream Pound Cake,

    Family Recipe from the Old South


    ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
    3 C flour
    3 C sugar
    6 eggs (room temperature)
    ½ pint Breakstone’s sour cream (room temp.)
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon almond extract (if desired)
    ½ teaspoon mace or 2 teaspoons lemon extract

    Cream sugar and butter together. Alternate adding 2 eggs with the dry ingredients mixture (flour, soda, salt) until all 6 eggs blended in. (You may whip eggs before adding into mixture. Mom says it’s not worth the effort.) Blend in sour cream and extracts.

    Pour mixture into greased (Crisco shortening and not oil) and floured tube pan and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for approximately 1 ½ hours.

    alkapal's variation:

    Use cake flour, rather than all-purpose flour.
    Substitute approximately 3-5 Tablespoons flour with Hershey’s cocoa.
    Add spices as desired:
    ½ teaspoon each of Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves (ground), Nutmeg,
    1 Tablespoon Cardamon.

    Note: Do not flour pan after greasing. Check cake at 1 hour 20 minutes with wooden skewer. If clean, cake is done. Once cooled, add Frangelico Hazelnut liqueur in frequent doses to crack in top of cake. Seal cake in aluminum foil. Add more Frangelico the next day and so forth. Cake is best after about 4 days to a week. Enjoy!

    3 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      <<Add more Frangelico the next day and so forth. Cake is best after about 4 days to a week.>>

      Well, no kiddin', alkasis, a little MORE Frangelico and a little MORE after that, of course it's best about four days to a week! DRUNKEN POUND CAKE--WOOHOO! (Homer Simpson and I couldn't be happier!). :)

      I still need to try the pineapple sage pound cake recipe I found here, but cannot endorse it until it comes out of my own oven. And next on my baking docket is almond cakes...with (hopefully) new Wilton silicone cute-little-shaped baking pans that you told me about. Gotta find 'em first.

      1. re: alkapal

        Grilled pound cake sandwiches! I love these. Your filling can vary, depending on what's on hand, fresh fruit, a jam, and don't discount savory! The sharp cheddar I used once was such a delight of sweet/ savory.
        Now if you really wanna get decadent, hot off the grill the al la mode.

        1. re: Quine

          Yep, grill both sides, then the last side put a layer of cream cheese, raspberry jam, and then diced pecans top with fresh peaches and vanilla ice cream. That is my absolute favorite. Had it at a restaurant in WA and was hooked. I make it all the time.

      2. I love pound cake. Fresh veggies sauteed in a light sugar sauce with dark rum (or not)

        layered thin slices with strawberry preserves fresh and a almost whipped cream and crushed walnuts.

        Than a hundred flavors to make to the pound cake itself.

        I grill it all the time, fresh grilled peaches in a butter and brown sugar sauce and the list goes on and on.

        1. I looooooove Smitten Kitchen's Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberry Coulis. I don't always make the accompanying sauce, but -oh my!- the cake is so sublime. So rich, so eggy, with the perfect "chewy" crust forming on top. The first time I had tried this recipe, I fell so deeply in love that I had to make two more in one week...and yes, I ate all three.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pinkprimp

            SK's pound cake is fantastic and with grilled fruit a fav in our house.
            We've also cut the pound cake into cubes and made a variety of layered desserts using
            it. Her recipe freezes beautifully too.

          2. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ja...
            that is my favorite one. I like it with a glass of milk, ice cream, berries and whipped cream, and as it gets stale some jam.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cassoulady

              OOOOOOOOOh Cassoulady, I so wanted your recipe to be the best pound cake I've ever eaten since Jacques is one of my favorite chefs.........however, it was probably the worst! I believe the cooking time has got to be off..........1-1/2 hrs????? Wish I would have used some common sense prior to wasting all those ingredients...........I even took it out 10 min early too. It wasn't inedible, but was rubbery......made me long for Sara Lee.....moist & tender!
              I did check with other recipes, & in general, it's 55 - 60 min bake time. Sorry!

              1. re: jackie2830

                my aunt mary's sour cream pound cake recipe (above) cooks for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees. it is a large, dense -- but moist and fine-crumbed -- cake cooked in a tube pan.

                jackie, try this recipe, follow the directions, and i promise you will not be disappointed.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Thanks alkapal! I had all ready bookmarked that recipe. Your aunts recipe makes sense to me with the long baking time since it's a bigger mass.......tube pan. Jacques however, doesn't........I got a lotta nerve arguing with a French chef oui?????

                  1. re: jackie2830

                    well, i loves jacques, too, but he ain't my aunt mary! ;-)). i **know** her recipe works. i'm anxious to hear your review. don't overcook your pound cake, and use the freshest ingredients you can find. i had a distant cousin (at round lake, in north florida) who'd not add any extract of any sort, but let the butter and farm-fresh eggs speak for themselves. it was a delicious cake, too.

            2. my mom always liked toasted pound cake, sometimes just with butter for breakfast, or with ice cream for dessert.

              it's not flashy, so i guess it fell out of favor.

              i agree it needs reviving!

              1 Reply
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                What better place than here to start the revolution? ;)

              2. I absolutely adore this Crystal Almond Pound Cake with a citrus glaze from Flo Braker's "The Simple Art of Perfect Baking." I've made it at least a dozen times and never tire of it.


                1. I used KA Unbleached White Flour for my first attempt at Sweet Potato Pound Cake, because I didn't want to have too many variables and was alreaady going to be halving the recipe, using a loaf pan instead of a Bundt. I'd nuked my spud, and let it cool, but did not peel it until the rest of the ingredients were already mixed. Turns out that this particular sweet potato was on the dry, pale, bland sidem so it did not contribute as much moistness or flavor as a better one would have. The recipe called for a cooked buttermilk glaze, but I opted for naked. Even though I cut way back on the nutmeg, that and similar spices overwhelm my palate, so I taste more nutmeg than sweet potato. Nonetheless, it's a good cake and I look forward to making others, particularly to trying it with whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat. I am also tempted to try the original, nonleavened version, just out of curiosity about density and texture.

                  1. Loving this post!! I grew up with my Grandmom's poundcake. Sad to say, I took it for granted for many years. I didn't realize how good it was. Then I had some of that Sara Lee garbage and I've appreciated Grandmom's ever since. My Grandmom has passed on and the recipe has passed to me. It is the same as the original Aunt Mary's above, with these exceptions:
                    - No almond ext or mace.
                    -1 c sour cream.
                    - Measure flour. sift, and measure again. Discard extra. Sift again, with salt and soda added. Add eggs one at a time to the creamed butter and sugar, beating well after each addition. Add flour to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.
                    -Can do 2 loaf pans or 1 bundt.

                    heaven!! I usually eat it plain with a little powdered sugar. I love it in the loaf pan because the top gets crunchy and crackly yummy. If I make it for a birthday or other occasion, I slice strawberries and add to a simple syrup with grand marnier. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

                    Side note: I make my poundcake from a recipe card that my Grandmom wrote for me before she passed. It always makes me a little misty-eyed.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: amyvc

                      Plain and powdered sugar is how I grew up. I still love it that way.

                    2. I like lemon and or lemon blueberry pound cake. I love it simply cut or grilled and served with a sauce. Blackberry is probably my favorite.

                      1. I've made a Peach Pound Cake every summer for years. It's a favourite recipe.


                        For a plain pound cake, I like the Butter Pound Cake from Fine Cooking.

                        Can't beat the richness of pound cake.

                        1. PB&J made with pound cake. Sort of self-explanatory.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            no no nooooooooooo!
                            oh, pb&j overwhelms the delicate scent and beautiful texture of pound cake!

                            (but, if you *want* to, no one can stop you! ;-).

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Gotta agree with you on that one Alkapal! You must be a purist like me...........gotta taste that butter, flour, sugar! That's why I love PLAIN scones.

                              1. re: jackie2830

                                oh i don't mind stuff in scones, but putting pbj on a pound cake is tantamount to a misdemeanor crime -- maybe enough to get you run out of a southern town. ;-)).

                                (somehow i just had a vision of a new work of art i must do: "apotheosis of the pound cake.")

                          2. I can't put the recipie up because it comes from a copyrighted book, but try Ruth Barenbaum's recipie in her book (Cake Bible). It uses 12 egg yolks! It is one great pound cake, as if there could be a bad pound cake...

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: richopp

                              There are a few different recipes for pound cake in Rose Levy Berenbaum's "The Cake Bible," but I'm not finding one that contains 12 egg yolks. Most of the ones I found had three or four whole eggs. Do you have the specific name of the recipe you're referring to?

                              1. re: JoanN

                                not to answer for richopp, but googling turned up several sites with "12-egg" cake: http://www.grouprecipes.com/23630/but...

                                this one calls for a "pound" of eggs: http://www.bigoven.com/155791-Old-Fas...


                                1. re: alkapal

                                  I wasn't questioning whether or not such a recipe exists, I was saying I was unable to find the one in "The Cake Bible" that richopp specifically referred to and was asking for assistance in locating that particular one.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    ok, i knew that....just trying to help.

                                    maybe not so much help?

                            2. Has anyone made or heard of a cream cheese pound cake? I bought a bag of sugar the other day and a recipe for it was printed on it. Calls for 8 oz. of cc and a cuppa butter.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                I don't have a recipe - can you paraphrase the one you have? I've tasted amaretto cream cheese pound cake, which was excellent, though rich.

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  I'd be glad to share. I haven't made it, but I'd like to try it at some point. If you beat me to it, please report back!

                                  CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE

                                  2 cups flour
                                  2 teaspoons baking powder
                                  1/4 teaspoon salt
                                  1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
                                  1 cup butter
                                  1 1/2 cups sugar
                                  4 eggs
                                  1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
                                  2 teaspoons lemon juice
                                  1 teaspoon vanilla
                                  powdered sugar for dusting

                                  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl; set aside. Cream butter and cream cheese together till blended. Beat in sugar till smooth. Add eggs; beat till light and fluffy. Add lemon juice, rind and vanilla; mix. Slowly sift flour mixture into eggs/cream cheese/butter till blended. Note: batter will be heavy. Turn into buttered bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and keep the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out on serving plate and let cool. Dust with powdered sugar. Makes 10-12 servings.

                                  For your amaretto variation, maybe skip the lemon rind and juice and swap in almond extract or amaretto. Yummmmmmmmm! I love all things almond-y!

                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                  I love cream cheese poundcake. The one I use is much simpler (just the basics cream cheese, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla) but yours sounds better w/ all the lemon. Pound cake is so heavy that it takes just a small piece to make me happy.

                                3. Not technically a pound cake, but OMG I would be interested in hearing a food scientist view of why this cake works the way it does ( duh! 2 sticks butter, softened, 3 cups sugar, 7 large eggs, 1 cup heavy cream )

                                  Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake


                                  1. greygarious, by the way did you ever post your Sweet Potato bread recipe??

                                    Hope you catch this...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mtomto

                                      Here it is - I don't know the source, unfortunately, and I didn't write down the cake directions - you know the drill - 350 degrees for 60-75 min in a greased&floured bundt pan.

                                      SWEET POTATO POUNDCAKE
                                      3-1/4 c AP flour
                                      2t baking powder
                                      1/2t baking soda
                                      1/2t fresh grated nutmeg
                                      1/2t salt
                                      1/2 c milk
                                      1t vanilla extract
                                      2 sticks room temp unsalted butter
                                      1 c sugar
                                      1c brown sugar
                                      4 large eggs
                                      2 c mashed cooked sweet potato
                                      BUTTERMILK GLAZE
                                      1/2 c buttermilk
                                      1/2 c sugar
                                      1/2 stick butter
                                      1-1/2 t cornstarch or flour
                                      1/4 t baking soda
                                      1 t vanilla extract
                                      For the glaze, stir together and bring to gentle boil the first 5 ingredients, let cool to room temp before stirring in the vanilla. Strain through a sieve and drizzle on cooled cake.

                                      I made a half recipe of the cake in a loaf pan, baked 40 minutes. I used white whole wheat flour and buttermilk, and didn't make any glaze. It's a good cake but next time I'll omit the nutmeg because even though I went light on it, the warm spices go a long way with me, and my palate was overwhelmed by nutmeg, so I lost the taste of the sweet potato, which did lend extra moisture to the texture.

                                    2. Damn you all for reminding me how good this cake is:

                                      Now I'll have to make it and eat it!

                                      1. As far as appreciation goes, this fellow clearly 'takes the cake":


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: greygarious

                                          Great story. Wonder if Passadumkeg kept any "canned mementos" from Nam. We all know he didn't save any SPAM! ;)

                                        2. I created a dessert a few years ago using chocolate chip pound cake. Cube the pound cake, layer it in a trifle bowl with chocolate mousse, sliced fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream, garnish with grated chocolate. This is not for anyone watching their diet, but it is heavenly. You can also layer it in individual parfait or sherbet glasses.