Good Eats Pound Cake Light - Alton Brown

Total Time
1hr 45mins
Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr

Transcribed from the 10/26/09 episode. Slow-churned European style butters have smaller butterfat crystals, which leads to smaller, finer bubbles and a finer texture in the finished cake, so splurge on the expensive butter for this! Be sure to use cake flour, not all-purpose; the finer particle size, the lower protein and the bleaching all lead to a better, more tender texture in the final cake. Substituting buttermilk for some of the eggs and butter lightens the cake, lowers the fat and calories, and adds a tangy note; Alton recommends whole buttermilk, not low-fat or non-fat. It's technically not a pound cake anymore, but we won't quibble with such good eats.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F Liberally butter two 9x5 loaf pans, or one 9" tube pan. Add the flour and coat all surfaces (if using loaf pans, simply place one on top of the other and shake vigorously). Discard any excess flour.
  2. Warm the butter to 65-70F (about 3 hours at room temperature). Place sugar and butter in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (placing the butter on top of the sugar helps keep it from flying all over your kitchen). Mix on medium for a full 6 minutes.
  3. With the mixer turned down to low, add eggs one at a time, waiting 20-30 seconds after each addition, until the egg is fully incorporated and emulsified before adding the next. Add vanilla and salt. Beat on medium for 30 seconds, then return to low.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour. Mix until the flour is completely incorporated, then add half the buttermilk and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the next 1/3 of the flour. When that's fully incorporated, add the remaining buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Scrape down again and add the last of the flour. When fully incorporated, scrape down a third time, then beat on medium for 30 seconds.
  5. Using a scale, pour 2 lbs of batter into each loaf pan (or pour the whole thing into the tube pan). Smooth the top lightly; it doesn't need to be perfect. Bake about 1 hour, until the internal temperature is 210°F and the cakes are golden-brown.
  6. Place the cakes, in their pans, on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and place bake on rack for at least another 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, combine zest, juice and salt in a small bowl. Whisk in the confectioner's sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until it resembles a very thick milk. Place cake on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet (to catch any spills), then pour the glaze over the cakes, allowing gravity to pull the glaze down over the sides. Let the glaze harden 30 minutes before slicing.