March 11, 2011

How to Bake Classic Pound Cake - I did it!

Classic vanilla pound cake is the quintessential Southern dessert ~ and this version is pure Southern perfection.
Classic Vanilla Pound Cake
I finally did it!  I baked my first pound cake!!  Can you believe I had never made a pound cake before this?  In my defense, pound cake is decidedly a southern thing.  Growing up in Vermont, we just didn't bake pound cakes.  The only pound cake I had been exposed to prior to moving south was the Sara Lee loaf kind you buy in the freezer section at the grocery store.  

Now that I live in North Carolina, classic pound cake is everywhere, and in so many wonderful flavors. Oh, homemade is sooooo much better than that frozen stuff!

I'll admit I was very nervous, possibly even a little bit scared, to make my first pound cake.  

As I said before, I have absolutely zero background in baking this kind of cake.  Add to that the fact that my mother-in-law is pretty much a pound cake baking goddess.  You can be almost guaranteed that when you walk into her house, there's a pound cake in the cake cupboard.  Yep, she makes it so much there's a cake cupboard where it's kept.  Now if that's not intimidating, I don't know what is.

And there you have it - fear.  Fear of the pound cake.  But I desperately wanted to overcome this fear.

Classic Vanilla Pound Cake

So, after eight years of knowing my husband and eating his mother's wonderfully amazing pound cake, I decided to give her recipe a whirl myself.  

Trying to recall all the tips and tricks she told me, I set out on my journey.  Doubts still ran through my head - What if I don't get the batter mixed just right?  What if it gets a sad streak in it? (I've learned that this is when it doesn't bake evenly, creating basically an unbaked "streak" through the cake.)  What if ... and apparently this is one of the worst and most frequent pound cake mishaps ... it won't come out of the pan?  What if it bakes up ugly??  But I pressed on ... 

After combining all my ingredients and beating them for the full 15 minutes called for in the recipe, I poured my beautiful pale yellow, smooth, creamy batter into my pan.  I'm a sucker for batter, so of course I tasted it at this point.  Already yummy!

Making Classic Vanilla Pound Cake

But when my pound cake came out of the oven, one of my fears had come to be - the top of the cake baked up ugly, and one part of it was slumped down a little.  Fortunately, the pound cake settled down a tiny bit as it cooled - but it still certainly wasn't the prettiest cake around.  This made me very worried to cut into it.

Making Classic Vanilla Pound Cake

When it finally came time to cut, Mark and I did it together.  After all, he grew up with this pound cake and would for-sure know if it was up-to-snuff!  Because of the slumped side, he was positive there was going to be a sad streak in it.  When we cut, I was extremely glad to find no streak!

Classic Vanilla Pound Cake

Now came the ultimate test ... the Mark taste-test.  I'm happy to report that my pound cake passed with flying colors, ugly top and all!

The Mark quote:  "I think you've done it."  That's very high praise from my particular husband of few words.

As I do with most of my baked goods, I gave the majority of the cake away.  As I was packaging up my little pound cake care packages, I asked Mark if he wanted me to save him a few slices.  He said no - so I asked, "Are you sure?"  He said, "Yes, I'm sure."

I admit, I was surprised.  So, I decided to save just one slice for me to have the next day.

Here it is - all by itself on the cake plate:

Here's what the cake plate looked like the next morning when I came down for breakfast:

Guess what Mark had for breakfast...

Compliments of my mother-in-law, here is the recipe for this classic pound cake.  Eat it plain, or with berries or whipped cream (or both!) on top.  Even if it bakes up ugly, rest assured it will still taste delicious.

Classic Vanilla Pound Cake

Classic Vanilla Pound Cake
Source:  My Mother-in-Law
(Printable recipe)
3 c. sugar
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
2 T. Crisco shortening
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk (my mother-in-law and I use 2% milk)


  • Cream the sugar, butter, and Crisco with an electric mixer, about 3-4 minutes.  
  • Add eggs and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer about 10-15 minutes.  Be sure to beat for the full time.  
  • Combine the flour and baking powder.  With the mixer on low, add flour mixture and milk, alternately, to the creamed sugar and eggs mixture.  Mix after each addition until just combined.
  • Pour batter into a tube pan that has been generously sprayed with non-stick baking spray {or buttered & floured}.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until a toothpick inserted in the top comes out clean.  Cool about a 1/2 an hour in the pan; remove cake from pan.


Please enjoy these other tasty cakes from The Kitchen is My Playground ...


  1. You're more "Southern" now then me, I still haven't attempted my first pound cake---but I did perfect the sour dough bread!

  2. Hi Tracey! Your pound cake was beautiful and, apparently, delicious! I'm a big pound cake fan so I'm glad you had a positive experience making yours. Kim

  3. Your cake looks absolutely beautiful and delicious!
    You did a great job :)

  4. Looks delicious! Stopping over from Cast Party Wednesday.

    My Mom & I make these all the time. We typically do a Cream Cheese or Sour Cream one though. I love pound cake, so good!

    New Mama Diaries

    1. I love them, too, Tennsley! Thank you so much for stopping by from Cast Party Wednesday ... glad to have you here.

  5. I love pound cake with a cuppa coffee or spot of fav! Thanks for this classic cake. Big hugs,

  6. It turned out great! Perfect even! Thanks for sharing at Sweet & Savory Saturdays #21!

    ~Amber @ Dessert Now, Dinner Later!

  7. Great job on overcoming your fears! Looks great.

    I had no idea that the pound cake was so popular in the South! I usually make them for myself whenever I feel like cake without any sugary icing...

    Thanks for sharing, I'll have to try this "Southern" Classic.

  8. Hello I attempted to try this receipe after many failed ones and guess what IT WAS GREAT.... thanks for the awesome, easy to follow great cake receipe.

    1. Yay!!!! I'm so glad it came out great for you. Enjoy!

  9. Is there a reason for baking it in a tube pan rather than loaf pans?
    I'm hoping not, as I'm preparing to do it in a loaf and a half pan (they're rare but I LOVE mine!!!).

  10. Replies
    1. Yes, Joann, plain all-purpose flour. Enjoy!

  11. Hi, your cake looks so delicious. I've a problem, here I can't get Crisco shortening, with what can i substitute 2 T. Crisco shortening ?

    1. You can use coconut oil! That is what i like using and it works great.

  12. Hi, I haven't got tube pan. What size pan can I bake it?

    1. Hi, Cuki! You can bake the pound cake in a bundt pan as well. Or, divide the batter evenly into two loaf pans. Enjoy!

  13. Hey, is the butter salted or unsalted? Thanks!


I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

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