How to Bake Classic Pound Cake - I did it!

March 11, 2011
Classic vanilla pound cake is the quintessential Southern dessert ~ and this version from my mother-in-law is pure Southern perfection.

Classic Vanilla Pound Cake image

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 photo

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 image

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 photo

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 and relieved to find no streak!

Southern Pound Cake image

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 or with a sad streak, rest assured it will still taste delicious.

Check out these other super-tasty cake recipes:
Southern Pound Cake photo
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pound cake, pound cake recipe, Southern pound cake recipe, vanilla pound cake recipe
Yield: 12-16 servings

Classic Pound Cake

Classic vanilla pound cake is the quintessential Southern dessert. And this version is true Southern perfection.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 1 H & 30 Mtotal time: 1 H & 55 M


  • 3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 T. Crisco shortening
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. milk (my mother-in-law and I use 2% milk)


How to cook Classic Pound Cake

  1. Cream the sugar, butter, and Crisco with an electric mixer, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to beat for the full time.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cool about a 1/2 an hour in the pan; remove cake from pan.
Created using The Recipes Generator

You might also enjoy these other tasty cake recipes:

Classic Vanilla Pound Cake ~ Bake up the quintessential Southern dessert!  This classic vanilla pound cake recipe is pure Southern perfection.

This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.


  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.

  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!!!).

    1. When baking the pound cakes in loaf pans be sure to line them with parchment paper and hand it over the sides so you can lift the cake out after cooling for 20 minutes. Loaf pans will cook at a different time than tube pans so be sure to start checking after about 45 minutes.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

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

  13. This looks awesome! I too, have a mother-in-law in NC famously known for her wonderful pound cakes so I know the intimidation :P This recipe is very similar to hers. She beats each egg addition for 1 1/2 -2 mins at a time and starts with a cold oven, 325 for 1 hr 8 mins. Perfect. Thank you for keeping this traditional recipe alive ~

  14. My grandmother was a pound cake queen as well. Church "dinner on the ground" was not complete without her pound cake and no one else dared bring one for fear it would not hold up to hers. (Florida Panhandle often called Lower Alabama)

    She always said if the top didn't crack it the steam that makes it settle and get mushy inside couldn't get out. If you want to insure the top is pretty bake it in a bunt pan. I personally like the crunch of a crack topped pound cake. Excuse me, I need to get in the kitchen and make one now. (Congrats on a great cake.)

  15. Hi, I love the texture of your cake but unfortunately I did not understand all the units of measure that you used. Please, explain me :) and thanks a lot in advance

  16. What size Bundt pan?

  17. Hi I want to try this recipe but just want to know if it will make a difference if I use salted butter. That’s all I have in the house and want to make it now. It looks so good I can almost taste it.


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