February Pound Cake Project, Take Two: Perfect All-Butter Pound Cake

by moderndomestic on February 19, 2009

Beranbaum Pound Cake

It looks simple, but this all-butter pound cake was divine.

According to Larousse Gastronomique, the pound cake originated in England before traveling to France and, eventually, to America, where it became the basis for the American butter cake. The pound cake takes its name from the recipe, which originally called for a pound of eggs, a pound of flour, a pound of butter, and a pound of sugar.

Master baker Rose Levy Beranbaum used the pound cake as a starting point for developing her other cake recipes in The Cake Bible. When she created her pound cake recipe, she started with the traditional recipe and tweaked it to make the perfect, tender, buttery pound cake. Her pound cake recipe includes milk (for moisture), extra butter (for a tender crumb and excellent flavor), and baking powder (also for a tender crumb).

After making the Shirley O’Corriher pound cake, with fifteen ingredients and complicated multiple steps, Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipe was a breeze. And I actually liked this pound cake more – I loved the deep, rich, buttery flavor of the cake, which O’Corriher’s recipe lacked. While this cake wasn’t quite as “melt-in-your” mouth as O’Corriher’s texture-wise, it was also much less sweet, which was much more to my taste.

So far, this looks like it may become my go-to recipe for pound cake, although who knows what the rest of the Pound Cake Project has in store.

Perfect Pound Cake
Adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum


3 Tablespoons milk
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups sifted cake flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
13 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 inch by 4 by 2.5 inch loaf pan, or any six cup loaf or fluted tube pan.

Lightly whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.

Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, until blended. Add the butter and half the egg mixture, and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. On medium speed, beat for one minute. This will aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down sides.

Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down sides.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth surface with a spatula. Bake for 55-65 minutes (35-45 minutes if baking in a fluted tube pan), until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minuets before inverting onto a greased wire rack. If using a loaf pan, flip the cake over so the top is up.

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February Pound Cake Project Take Three: Nigella’s Lemon Not Quite Pound Cake « ModernDomestic
February 25, 2009 at 2:30 pm
Last-Minute Easter Desserts « ModernDomestic
April 10, 2009 at 8:15 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

culinspiration March 18, 2009 at 9:39 am

If I wanted to make this into a lemon pound cake, could I sub 3 tsp. lemon juice for the milk, and add lemon zest? I just made a lemon-cornmeal cake, and although it was delicious, it quickly got dry. I want to try something similar with a pound cake.


joshuaadelaide March 9, 2010 at 12:28 am

All time favorites include white cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate cake with white frosting and carrot cake.
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Roger July 26, 2011 at 7:49 am

I’m relatively new to pound cake, but all the recipes I’ve seen start with a cold oven, where this one preheats the oven. What’s the difference?


moderndomestic July 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Cold-oven pound cake is a specific type of pound cake recipe that was developed in the last century – I saw a segment on it on Cooks County (the recipe they used is here, but it’s behind a pay wall). I honestly don’t remember why the recipe calls for it to be started in a cold oven – I think it was some kind of promotion related to a new type of oven on the market.

I don’t know if a cold oven pound cake would work in a hot oven – because heat activates leaveners (like baking powder) in the batter, I think a cold oven recipes should be formulated differently than a hot-oven recipe. But it might be worth investigating!


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