This vanilla pound cake is wonderfully moist, rich, and buttery. It has a gorgeous golden brown crust and a heavenly flavor of vanilla that will leave your taste buds craving for more! Vanilla pound cake slices on a white plate

Why is it called pound cake?

It’s called pound cake because the original recipe called for one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. True pound cake dates back to the 1700s when measuring ingredients by weight rather than by volume was a common practice. The recipe was easy to remember, with a pound of each ingredient used in equal amounts. This resulted in a cake that was easy to make and had a consistent texture and taste. Over time, variations of the recipe have been made, but the name “pound cake” has stuck, as a tribute to the cake’s origins.

A slice of vanilla pound cake on a white and gold plate with berries and yogurt.

Why this recipe is so great:

  • Makes one perfect loaf – Most recipes make 2 loaves or a large bundt cake, but this vanilla pound cake recipe makes a single loaf, which is perfect for smaller families like mine.
  • Easy to make – This recipe is all prepared in one bowl. All you have to do is cream the butter and sugar, mix in the eggs and vanilla, stir in the flour, and bake.
  • Simple yet delicious – Despite its simplicity, it has a rich, buttery, vanilla flavor that is hard to resist. It’s sturdy and dense, just the way a good pound cake should be, yet tender at the same time. 

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Butter – salted or unsalted
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Vanilla extract or a vanilla bean

How to make vanilla pound cake:

(the ingredient amounts are listed in the printable recipe card further below)

process pictures of how to make pound cake

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. Mix in the vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract.
  3. Stir in the flour until just combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for 1 hour.

Expert tip:

Since there are no leavening agents in this recipe, it’s really important to beat and cream the butter, sugar, and eggs very well to incorporate as much air as possible into the batter because that’s what will cause your cake to rise in the oven.

How to serve:

It is lovely served on its own, with fresh fruit, a dusting of powdered sugar, or with a dollop of whipped cream. You can also serve it with a dollop of yogurt instead, as I did in the photo above, for a healthier choice. Pound cake is also great toasted for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

FAQ:

Does pound cake need to be refrigerated?

No, it can last up to 3-4 days tightly wrapped or stored in an airtight container at room temperature. However, if you are planning on keeping it for longer then it should be refrigerated and can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Can you freeze pound cake?

Yes, pound cake freezes really well. Wrap the cake in a double layer of plastic wrap and then a single layer of aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw on the counter for 2-3 hours until it reaches room temperature before serving.

What is the difference between pound cake and butter cake?

Butter cakes have a lighter texture and greater volume than pound cakes. Pound cakes tend to be more dense because they’re typically made without leavening agents.
A slice of classic pound cake on a white and gold plate with berries and yogurt.

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This pound cake is wonderfully rich and buttery. It has a gorgeous golden brown crust and a nostalgic aroma of vanilla.

Vanilla Pound Cake

  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 60 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: one loaf
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This vanilla pound cake is wonderfully moist, rich, and buttery. It has a gorgeous golden brown crust and a heavenly flavor of vanilla that will leave your taste buds craving for more!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour an 8×4″ or 9×5″ loaf pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 1 minute until creamy.
  3. Slowly add in the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes)
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between. Scrape the bowl as needed. Then add in the vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract and mix again.
  5. On low speed, add in the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check at 45 minutes and loosely cover the cake with foil if browning too quickly.

Notes

Don’t throw out your empty vanilla bean pod. You can use it to infuse milk or cream with subtle vanilla flavor, or you can stick it in a jar of sugar to make vanilla-scent sugar.

Leftover pound cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also tightly wrap it and store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Keywords: pound cake recipe, easy pound cake, old-fashioned pound cake, vanilla pound cake

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.