7 simple ingredients make up this classic, old fashioned pound cake. It’s thick and rich with a golden interior. Top with a sweet vanilla glaze for a simple dessert.
In an old cookbook of mine, I came across a classic pound cake recipe. It had a unique method of testing the pound cake batter called a “float test”. I’ll talk about that down below, but old cookbooks are known for their strange baking tips and tricks, so I had to try it.
Float test or not, this pound cake is a traditional recipe with a simple flavor. It has just a handful of ingredients and creates a delicious pound cake with just a glaze, but also stands up to toppings such as raspberry sauce, caramelized bananas and ice cream.
About this Old Fashioned Pound Cake Recipe:
Flavor: The flavor of this cake is simple and slightly sweet. You’ll taste the butter and a hint of vanilla. But you can switch out that vanilla for any flavor you’d like (such as almond extract).
Texture: Some cakes are light and fluffy, but pound cakes are generally dense, moist and heavy. They don’t feel heavy when eating them, though, because there is just a simple glaze.
Pound Cake Ingredients
Butter. Use real butter for the best texture and flavor. Butter should be at room temperature, but not at all melted.
Sugar. There is only granulated sugar in this recipe. That keeps it light and fresh testing.
Vanilla. Sometimes I double the vanilla extract. Without doubling, it is just a little hint of vanilla flavor.
Eggs. 8 eggs? Yes. It’s a lot. But this cake is worth it.
Cake flour. Because you are mixing this cake a lot, cake flour is best so that the crumb stays tender. If you absolutely cannot find cake flour, use all-purpose flour, but make sure you measure it carefully so you don’t add too much.
Baking powder. You can see that there is only ½ teaspoon baking powder in this cake. It doesn’t rise up light and fluffy, but this little bit of baking powder does give it a little boost. No baking soda is needed.
Salt. Even if you use salted butter, still add the salt.
What is the float test?
As I said above, the original recipe from the old cookbook called for doing a “float test” with the pound cake batter. Why is this trick necessary?
I spent some time researching “the float test” and didn’t come up with too much. I’m guessing that you want air beat into the batter. When the batter floats, there’s enough air in there to make your cake have the best texture.
If that is totally wrong and someone knows the real answer, please let me know!
Pound Cake Toppings
While your cake is baking, you have plenty of time to think about what you’re going to put on your pound cake. Here are a few favorites:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a bundt pan with shortening, then dust with flour. Or use Baker's Joy spray or cake release.
In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (or using an electric mixer), cream the butter for 2 minutes in the large bowl on medium speed.
Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Mix in the vanilla.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined (about 2 minutes), scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Take a small, pea sized piece of batter and drop it into a cup of water. The batter should float in the water. If it does not float, continue to beat a minute at a time until a small drop of batter floats in water.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. (The internal temperature of pound cake should be about 210ºF.)
Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes, then invert it to a serving plate.
To make the glaze, whisk the melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and cream together. Add enough cream so that the glaze is a drizzling consistency.
Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.
Serve with raspberry sauce, caramelized bananas or fresh fruit.
*It’s important to use room temperature ingredients so that they blend in well.**Switch out the vanilla for fresh lemon juice and zests such as lemon zest or orange or lime zests.Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**