Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
The name Pound Cake comes from the fact that the original pound cake contained one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. The pound cake dates back to the early 18th century, and was favored because its ingredients were easy to remember: one pound each of four things. By modern times, the proportions of the recipe were adjusted to make the cake less heavy. It can be served dusted with powdered sugar, lightly glazed, or sometimes with a coat of icing.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, slightly firm
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄4 cups superfine sugar
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-3/4-inch loaf pan with 1 tbsp softened butter. Line the bottom with a rectangle of parchment.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt and whisk thoroughly.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until thickened and lightened in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Clean the bowl of the stand mixer and fit it with the paddle attachment.
- Beat the butter on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix 1 minute longer. Add the sugar 1 to 2 tbsp at a time, taking about 4 minutes to add it all and scraping the bowl as needed.
- Still on medium-low speed, slowly add half of the beaten eggs, taking about 2 minutes to add them. Scrape the bowl as needed and beat for 30 seconds more.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the remaining eggs (divide the flour into 3 parts and the eggs into 2 parts), mixing just until each addition is incorporated. Scrape the bowl and beat on medium low for 10 seconds more.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of a large soup spoon, making sure to reach well into the corners. Bang the pan on the counter two times to remove any air pockets.
- Bake the cake until the top is golden-brown, the sides begin to pull away from the pan, and a thin wooden skewer inserted slightly off center into the cake (not into the crack) comes out clean, 1 hour and 20 to 25 minutes.
- During the last 15 minutes of baking, lightly spray a 12-inch strip of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray and rest it loosely on top of the cake. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and use a serrated knife to cut the cake into 1/2-inch slices.