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.
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.
- baking powder ~ traditionally pound cake used no leaveners, but I like the texture better this way.
- powdered sugar ~ to make it pretty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ~
- chocolate sauce
- whipped cream
- ice cream
- strawberry sauce
- fresh berries or seasonal fruit
- in spring I’ll add some edible blossoms!
- Glazed Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Nyackers Gingersnap Cake
- Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
- Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
- Chocolate Sour Cream Doughnut Cake
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Perfect Pound Cake
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 350F Butter and flour a standard 9-10 inch non stick bundt pan.
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let the pan cool for 15 minutes on a rack, then loosen all edges with a flexible spreading knife before inverting.
- Let cool completely on the rack. Dust with powdered sugar.
- Tip: Don't slice your cake until you're ready to serve it, otherwise it can dry out.
notes and variations
- 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.