Why mess with a classic? There really isn’t a need. I’ve been making Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Pound Cake for years.
It is such a versatile jumping-off point that can be modified using only extracts and citrus zest or dressed up with fresh whipped cream, vanilla custard, and fresh fruit.
Vanilla Pound Cake should be somewhat dense, but also meltingly tender and butt-er-ayyyyy. I think those qualities are what makes it so addictively delicious.
And it may seem a bit nutty, but this is a recipe that has been around since the 1700’s. Yes, seriously.
What is Pound Cake?
Pound cake may seem like an odd name but it was named so after the original recipe. Did you know that bakers way back when were using one pound of butter, one pound of sugar, and one pound of flour, plus eggs and vanilla, of course?
Slightly different from the way we do it now, but it makes a whole lot more sense when you know the backstory.
Through the years, this recipe has seen many iterations but despite all the changes, it still remains one of the best.
And while it is said to have originated in Europe, it has fast become one of those iconic “All-American” desserts that we all know and love.
Buttery, rich and decadent, pound cake can be served with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar or with a fresh fruit sauce, like my raspberry sauce. Better yet, try it with a drizzle or heavy pour of caramel or even fudge!
Why You’ll Love This Vanilla Pound Cake
A classic pound cake recipe that is full of vanilla flavor and perfect for any occasion- what’s not to love!
- Simple ingredients – One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s made with simple pantry ingredients. I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand at all times.
- Tender crumb – While it is quite dense, this pound cake has a tender, moist crumb that is sure to please anyone.
- Perfect for any occasion – Whether making for a special occasion like a holiday or just dessert after a weeknight dinner, this pound cake is perfect.
Most of these simple ingredients are more than likely already in your kitchen! If not, they’re easily found at your local grocery store.
- Flour – No need for cake flour, all purpose flour will work perfectly fine for this buttery cake.
- Baking powder – Cakes always need leavening agents, and that’s exactly what baking powder does for this perfect pound cake.
- Salt – Salt helps to being out the natural flavor of baked goods. If using salted butter, you can omit this altogether.
- Sugar – Plain white granulated sugar provides all the sweetness we need for the best vanilla pound cake recipe.
- Butter – I always use unsalted butter when baking so that I can control the amount of salt. Make sure it is softened.
- Vanilla extract – This is a vanilla cake after all, so make sure you are using a high quality vanilla extract here.
- Eggs – Any time a recipe calls for eggs, assume it is calling for large eggs. Room temperature eggs blend easier into cake batter, but isn’t going to make or break your cake.
- Milk – Any time I’m baking, I prefer to use whole milk. But 2% milk will work just fine for this easy recipe.
- Powdered sugar – This ingredient is optional, but I love sprinkling some powdered sugar on top of my pound cake before serving.
How to Make Vanilla Pound Cake
You are going to love how easy it is to make the best pound cake.
- Prepare oven and pans. Preheat oven and grease and lightly flour two loaf pans.
- Sift dry ingredients. In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- Beat wet ingredients. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add flour mixture into sugar mixture alternately with milk on low speed, beating just until smooth after each addition. Pour into pans.
- Bake. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool, then remove from pans to wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
This vanilla pound cake is a blank canvas, just waiting for you to make it your own.
- Extract – You can substitute any extract flavoring you’d like, this also tastes great with almond extract and lemon flavoring.
- Topping – Try topping this pound cake with something like a cream cheese frosting. Take it one step further and use real vanilla beans to make a simple vanilla bean glaze.
- Lemon zest – Grate some fresh lemon zest into the batter for a fresh and bright flavor that complements the vanilla flavor nicely.
How to Serve Vanilla Pound Cake
You can serve this load cake with just about anything you’d like to. You can do something as simple as a dusting of powdered sugar, or top it with homemade strawberry sauce and a fresh mint leaf.
Tips for Best Pound Cake
I’m not assuming you don’t know how to bake, but just skim these over as a refresher. This is a condensed version, check out my whole list for more details.
- Measure Correctly – spoon dry ingredients into the measuring cup or spoon and get down to eye level for wet.
- Sugar – Use the right type of sugar and know that brand names typically have larger granules, resulting in less per volume. Cheap off-brands can make for a cake that is too sweet or falls.
- Butter – Use a good quality butter, lower grades have more water or liquid fats. Beat your butter for 1-7 minutes to incorporate in air to make it light (as light as pound cakes get) and fluffy.
- Room Temperature Ingredients – Not just the butter, all of it! Cold ingredients will bring the down the overall temperature of your cake batter.
- Do Not Overmix– Overmixing after beating the butter will make it tough, rubbery and dry.
- Cake Pan– Use the pan the recipe calls for- using a different pan, like a super decorative pan or a loaf pan, could result in poor results, undercooking, overcooking or batter overflowing from the pan.
- Grease Your Pans– Grease them with vegetable shortening, not cooking spray. Spray on cake pans can prevent them from rising and impact flavor.
- Oven Temperature– Preheat oven to 15 degrees higher than a recipe calls for, then reduce when you put the cake in. Having the door open reduces the temperature drastically, this offsets it. Then don’t open the door while cooking!
- Cooling- Allow your cake to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. Invert and dump it while it is warm and not hot or cold- it is still pliable then. Let it cool completely before frosting or dusting with powdered sugar.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: Store any leftover vanilla pound cake in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also wrap in plastic wrap to make sure you keep a moist cake.
- Whole Cake: To freeze the entire vanilla pound cake, first allow it to cool completely. Wrap it tightly in multiple layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn and moisture loss. Place the wrapped cake in a resealable freezer bag for extra protection. Label the bag with the date. Frozen pound cake can be stored for up to three months.
- Slices or Portions: Alternatively, you can slice the pound cake into individual portions before freezing. Place parchment paper between slices to prevent sticking. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. This allows you to thaw and enjoy single servings as needed without thawing the entire cake.
More Easy Pound Cake Recipes
Vanilla Pound Cake Recipe
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
- In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, beating on high speed 5 minutes.
- Add flour mixture into sugar mixture alternately with milk on low speed, beating just until smooth after each addition. Pour into pans.
- Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes; remove from pan(s) to wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.