Perfect Buttermilk Pound Cake

freshly baked buttermilk pound cake on a rack with knife

Perfect Buttermilk Pound Cake is that once in a lifetime recipe made with the classic ratio of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. This easy bundt cake always comes out perfect, and you’ll be baking it for years to come.

Classic pound cake, sliced

Go ahead, claim this classic buttermilk pound cake as your own

Have you always wanted a signature recipe? A recipe that you make so often you know it by heart, that you become known for in your inner circle? This classic buttermilk pound cake is one of those recipes, friends, it’s just waiting for you to try it. I highly (highly!) recommend you give it a whirl. The flavor is lovely, the texture is ‘perfect’, and it’s not difficult to make.

What you’ll need:

  • butter ~ unsalted
  • sugar ~ granulated
  • eggs ~ large
  • flour ~ all purpose
  • buttermilk ~ cultured (you can make a substitute by adding lemon juice to whole milk or half and half, and letting it sit for 15 minutes. 1 tsp lemon juice for each cup.
  • vanilla ~ good quality really does make a difference, don’t use the cheap stuff. If you feel like splurging, use a vanilla bean.
  • salt 
  • baking powder ~ traditionally pound cake used no leaveners, but I like the texture better this way.
  • powdered sugar ~ to make it pretty.
Pound Cake, sliced, on a cooling rack

The secrets to perfect pound cake

I’m an absolute obsessive about cake crumb (for non bakers, that translates to texture) It’s everything. I like it to be visible and slightly loose, even in a dense cake like a pound cake. Not too dry, not oily, a nice crumb signals a perfect bite of cake more than anything else.

All your ingredients need to be at room temperature for best success: read about my easy hacks for getting cold ingredients up to temperature for baking in this post.

This pound cake is based on the classic proportions that have stood the test of time, that is: equal weights butter, eggs, flour, and sugar. It’s called ‘pound’ cake because traditionally the recipe called for a pound of each, but I’ve scaled it down to fit a standard bundt pan. It’s nice and generous, but won’t take all day to cook.

ingredients for classic pound cake

The one cake that needs no bells and whistles

This cake needs no glaze, sauce, or frosting; all the richness is baked right in. You can always experiment with toppings later, but for right now, all you’re going to want is a light shower of powdered sugar. It dresses up the plain brown surface of the cake and adds a sweet accent.

Let the cake cool a bit before dusting so it doesn’t melt right in.

classic pound cake with powdered sugar

Why this cake is so darned perfect (it’s the little black dress of cakes)

You really need to take a bite of a properly made old fashioned cake like this to appreciate what you’re missing in a boxed mix or store bought cake. This is what cake was meant to be: soft, dense, rich, and subtle. A treat, for sure, but never over the top.

It’s made from pantry staples. Each ingredient is identifiable and wholesome.

It’s neither dry nor oily. Not too crusty. Not too sweet.

Everything is done in one bowl!

The recipes makes the perfect amount of batter for a standard bundt pan and it cooks in under 60 minutes.

Coffee, tea, milk, or an after dinner tipple are all appropriate with this cake.

Pound cake just out of the oven

How to get your pound cake to release from the pan perfectly

  • A newer non-stick pan helps a lot. I replace my non-stick bundt pans every couple of years because they don’t last forever.
  • Choose a simple bundt pan for pound cake: simple shapes release much easier than intricate designs.
  • Pan prep matters: butter well, then flour well. Get into all the nooks and crannies.
  • Let your cake rest for 15 minutes and then loosen around all edges with a thin blunt knife (a flexible spreader works great.) Don’t forget the inner neck, it’s a classic sticking point. Cover the pan with a plate and firmly and swiftly invert. Gently lift the pan up, if the cake is sticking, flip back over and loosen a little more.
pound cake sprinkled with powdered sugar

One of those wonderful recipes that can be played with over a lifetime. Make it a few times for loved ones and they’ll remember you for it, for sure.

Easy pound cake toppings

The beauty of pound cake is that it’s a neutral canvas ~

pound cake, sliced, on a green floral plate

tvfgi recommends: a great basic bundt pan


Bundt pans come in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes, which is great, except that you never know how your pan is going to work with a specific recipe. I like to use this one from Wilton which is a basic, all purpose pan that’s sturdy, nonstick, and a standard size. The simple fluted shape insures an easy release, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

Click here for details.

 

Bodacious bundts:

freshly baked buttermilk pound cake on a rack with knife
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5 from 51 votes

Perfect Pound Cake

Perfect Buttermilk Pound Cake is that once in a lifetime recipe made with the perfect ratio of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. This easy bundt cake always comes out perfect, and you'll be baking it for years to come.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Yield 16 servings
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature. (this is 3 sticks, or 12 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12.5 ounces)
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature (12.5 ounces, weighed in their shell)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk, room temperature, or at least not cold.
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (12.5 ounces)
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F Butter and flour a standard 9-10 inch non stick bundt pan.
    prepped bundt pan
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature.
    room temperature ingredients for pound cake
  • Cream the butter and sugar together for a full 5 minutes in a stand mixer, scraping down the sides a couple of times. They should get really light and fluffy. You can use electric beaters if you like.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down between each addition. Now beat a further 2-3 minutes! (A LOT of beating, I know, but it will pay off.) You should now have a very silky smooth batter.
  • With the mixer on low, blend in the extract, baking powder, and salt.
  • Alternately blend in the buttermilk and flour, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until no dry flour remains, you can do the last bit by hand. Make sure you've incoorporated all the butter from the bottom of the bowl.
    mixing batter for pound cake
  • Turn the batter into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, then, without opening the oven door, turn the temperature down to 325F and bake another 25 – 30 minutes until the top is domed and springs back to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out without wet batter on it. (Tip: don't insert your toothpick directly into a crack, insert at a diagonal.) I loosely tent the cake towards the end of baking to prevent excess browning. As always, your oven or pan may vary from mine, so your baking time may be different.
    Pound cake batter in bundt pan
  • Let the pan cool for 15 minutes on a rack, then loosen all edges with a flexible spreading knife before inverting.
    pound cake cooling on a rack
  • Let cool completely on the rack. Dust with powdered sugar.
    pound cake dusted with powdered sugar
  • Tip: Don't slice your cake until you're ready to serve it, otherwise it can dry out.
    sliced pound cake

Cook’s notes

  • if you’d like to substitute milk or half and half for the buttermilk, you can.
  • if you want to substitute sour cream, I would thin it with a little water so it’s more the consistency of thick cultured buttermilk.
  • As with all cakes, they will dry out once sliced and exposed to air, so slice it when you are ready to eat, not before.

 

The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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56 Comments

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  • Reply
    Rebekah
    September 23, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    5 stars
    Made this exactly as written. Delicious. Used canned spray oil flour mix to coat Bundt pan. Perfect release results.

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