This easy pound cake is baked in a loaf pan, so it's relatively small and just the right size for many families. You might even call it a half-pound cake!
Pound cake is a wonderful blank canvas. Serve slices of this delicious vanilla pound cake with berries or a fruit sauce or top it with lemon sauce or a fruity lemon curd. Slices make an excellent strawberry shortcake with sweetened berries and whipped cream. You can even use it to make dessert French toast!
A pound cake isn't difficult, but there are some rules. For a successful pound cake, have all ingredients at room temperature and read the instructions before you begin. It's important to cream the butter and sugar thoroughly until it's very light and fluffy. Give it a good 5 minutes beating time. And follow the instructions for alternating the dry ingredients and milk. And finally, don't overbeat the finished batter or you'll reduce that valuable air you added when you creamed the butter and sugar.
- 2/3 cup butter, room temperature — a temperature of 65 F to 68 F is ideal*
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature**
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, 9 ounces
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 325 F.
- Grease and flour a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
- Cut the butter into several smaller pieces.
- Put the butter pieces and sugar in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar for about 5 to 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk or stir to blend thoroughly. Set aside.
- In a 1-cup measure, combine the 2/3 cup of milk and the vanilla. Set aside.
- Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until just barely blended. Add half of the milk and blend well. Add another one-third of the flour and beat until just barely blended. Beat in the remaining milk until smooth and blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until blended.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
*If you decide to bake a cake at the last minute, cut the butter into small tablespoon-size pieces — about 10 1/2 tablespoons — and put them in the mixing bowl. Add the sugar and begin beating on low speed. Increase the mixer speed as the butter becomes softer. Once the butter is smooth and soft, continue with the creaming instructions.
**To bring eggs to room temperature, put them in a bowl of hot tap water. Leave them for about 5 minutes.
- Lemon Pound Cake Loaf: Replace the vanilla extract with 1 teaspoon of lemon extract. Bake the cake as directed and place on a rack to cool. In a saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar with 1/4 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest, and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Gradually brush the glaze over the top and sides of the warm baked cake.
- Brown Sugar Pound Cake: Substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar.