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Pound cake

For the Van Halen song, see Poundcake. For the Drake song, see Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2.
Pound cake
A pound cake with almonds in an angled profile
Place of origin Great Britain[citation needed]
Main ingredients Flour, butter, sugar, and eggs
Variations Addition of flavourings or dried fruits
16x16px Cookbook:Pound cake  16x16px Pound cake

Pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. However, any cake made with a 1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar may also be called a pound cake, as it yields the same results. Pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a Bundt mold, and served either dusted with powdered sugar, lightly glazed, or sometimes with a coat of icing.


It is believed that the pound cake is a Northern European dish, that dates back to the early 1700s. Over time the ingredients for pound cake changed. Eliza Leslie, who wrote the 1851 edition of Direction for Cookery, used 10 eggs, beat them as light as possible, mixed them with a pound of flour, then added the juice of two lemons or three large oranges. This changed the flavor and texture of the cake. In the 2008 issue of Saveur, James Villas wrote that cake flour would not work in place of all purpose flour because it lacks the strength to support the heavy batter.


There are numerous variations on the traditional pound cake, with certain countries and regions having distinctive styles. These can include the addition of flavouring agents (such as vanilla extract or almond extract) or dried fruit (such as currants or dried cranberries), as well as alterations to the original recipe to change the characteristics of the resulting pound cake. For instance, baking soda or baking powder may be incorporated to induce leavening during baking, resulting in a less dense pound cake. A cooking oil (typically a vegetable oil) is sometimes substituted for some or all of the butter, which is intended to produce a more moist cake. "Sour cream pound cake" is a popular variation in the United States, which involves the substitution of sour cream for some of the butter, which also is intended to produce a more moist cake with a pleasantly tangy flavor. Some of these variations may drastically change the texture and flavor of the pound cake, but the name pound cake is often still used. Some of the variations are described below.

American South style

A traditional American pound cake would contain one pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.[1] This recipe is quite popular in the cuisine of the Southern United States.

British style

Pound cake is more commonly known in Britain as sponge cake, usually made from butter, caster sugar, self-raising flour and eggs in equal parts. Vanilla extract can be added to give a richer taste.

French style

In France, the pound cake is well-known. The name of the pound cake "quatre-quarts", means four quarters. There are equal weights in each of the four quarters. In tradition, the popular cake of the French region of Brittany, as its name implies, uses the same quantity of the four ingredients, but with no added fruit of any kind. Except, the Caribbean parts of the world that do speak French traditionally add rum to the ingredients for Christmas Eve or even mashed bananas for extra moisture. In some cases the French might have beaten egg whites instead of whole eggs to lighten the batter. Other variants include adding chocolate or lemon juice for flavour.

Mexican style

In Mexico, the pound cake is called panqué. The basic recipe of Mexican panqué is much like the traditional U.S. recipe.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag and panqué con pasas (pound cake with raisins).[2]

Venezuelan and Colombian style

Ponqué is the Venezuelan and Colombian version of the pound cake: the term ponqué is itself a Spanish phonetic approximation of pound-cake. The ponqué is essentially a wine-drenched cake with a cream or sugar coating, and it is very popular at birthdays, weddings and other social celebrations.

German style

The German Eischwerkuchen (Ei = egg, schwer = heavy, all ingredients weigh as much as the eggs each) is a recipe very similar to the pound cake. In German a pound cake is called Ruehrkuchen and is made according to the British or French recipe[3]


  1. Editors of Cooks Illustrated (2004) The New Best Recipe. Brookline, MA: America's Test Kitchen.
  2. Recipe of panqué with raisins (78yum/English)
  3. (German)

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