Triple Vanilla Pound Cake ~ not one, not two, but three layers of intense vanilla flavor to excite even the most serious vanilla fans. This easy loaf cake is guaranteed to become a new favorite.
When it comes to flavor, vanilla beats chocolate any day of the week. Chocolate has its charms, but in terms of pure aromatic complexity, ‘plain’ vanilla is hands down the champ.
Vanilla contains a mind boggling array of flavor compounds, and like coffee or fine wine, vanilla will vary depending on where it comes from (it might be Tahiti, Madagascar, or Mexico.) Vanilla beans are actually the dried pods of an orchid, which makes sense since it’s such an aromatic flavor. If you’re wondering why you have to pay so much for that lonely bean in the jar, it’s because those orchids are rare, only bloom once a year, and have to be pollinated by hand. From bean to bottle it takes over a year and a half…you can read about it here if you’re interested.
I’ve infused this pound cake from the inside out with three distinct layers of vanilla.
The first layer is vanilla sugar:
- Vanilla sugar is sugar that’s stored with a vanilla bean (or two) and becomes infused throughout with the flavor. It’s easy to do, check out the notes below the recipe. I love the whole idea of infused sugars ~ I’ve had such success with lemon sugar in my Lemon Sugar Shortbread, and Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake. In that case I literally blitzed the sugar together with lemon peel and the result is pure heaven. But this vanilla sugar is even easier, and the flavor payoff is equally great.
The next layer is vanilla bean paste
- I flavor the batter with vanilla bean paste, which is a thick vanilla product that also contains ground beans, so you get an intense flavor AND those wonderful specks without having to deal with expensive whole beans. It can sometimes be hard to find in regular supermarkets, but you can always buy it online, here. The brand I like is Nielsen-Massey.
The final layer is a thick vanilla glaze
- The glaze is the icing on the cake ~ pun intended! One bite and all your vanilla sense memories come flooding back…
The cake has lots of vanilla presence all by itself, but for me the best part is the vanilla bean glaze on top. I try to get as much on there as possible because I want to get some in every bite.
TIP: There’s an art to getting a glaze to stick onto a cake. First, don’t rush it, you need to let the cake cool. I like to err on the thick side with my glazes. It should be JUST pourable, but still have substance. I lay a thick layer across the top of the cake and then nudge it gently with a spreader. I want it to lazily fall off the edges, not flow like a waterfall!
This cake has the perfect crumb!
Reader Rave ~
“I made the cake this afternoon and it turned out perfectly. My husband and neighbors are happy taste testers for Thanksgiving brunch.
Thanks again!” ~ Patty
Triple Vanilla Pound Cake
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour, see instructions for making your own in the notes, below
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups vanilla sugar, directions in the notes below
- 1 Tbsp vanilla paste, or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 Tbsp milk, half and half, or cream (to thin glaze)
- Set oven to 325 degrees F.
- Lightly spray a standard 9×5 loaf pan and line it with a sheet of parchment paper or foil so you can easily lift the cake out for glazing.
- Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Let the mixer go for at least 3-4 minutes. Note: the long mixing is important for this classic pound cake, the air that is incorporated through mixing it what helps it rise.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Blend in the buttermilk. Then slowly add the flour. Make sure everything is well mixed. Do the last bit by hand.
- Turn the batter into the loaf pan and spread out evenly. Bake on the middle rack for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Cool on a rack.
- Make the glaze by whisking the sugar and vanilla together with enough milk or cream to create a thick spreadable glaze. Beat it until there are no lumps. You can add more liquid to thin it down, or more sifted sugar to thicken it up.
- When the cake is almost completely cool, spread a thick layer of glaze over the top and let it drip down the sides. The idea is to have the glaze thick enough that it doesn’t completely slide off the cake. If that happens, gather it up and re-glaze the cake.
- Vanilla sugar is sugar that has been infused with vanilla. To make it, simply put some sugar in a container that has a lid, I use a large wide mouthed mason jar, and add a vanilla bean that has been split down the middle. (You an also re-use vanilla beans from past recipes) Give the container a good shake and store in the cupboard. Give the jar another shake before measuring out your sugar. You can keep a container of vanilla sugar going indefinitely, every time you use the sugar, add more to the jar, and add used vanilla beans from time to time.
- Make your own cake flour ~ for every 1 cup of flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift to mix the two really well. Cake flour results in a lighter texture and more tender crumb.
- I recommend using a sturdy metal loaf pan instead of glass or ceramic. I like the way my USA pan bakes evenly and releases easily. There’s nothing worse than an over-cooked pound cake, unless it’s one that won’t come out of the pan.
Questions and Reviews
Hi can this be made in a Bundt pan instead of a loaf pan.
I haven’t tried, you might have to double the recipe, depending on your pan. I do have a classic bundt pound cake on the site: here.
I made this this morning. The taste is very good but it seems a bit sweet. It also was very flat on top instead of rounded with the middle split. I made in an 8 inch loaf made and 2 mini ones. Wasn’t sure if it would over flow in the loaf pan. The big one sunk in the middle a ;little but the mini were perfectly flat. I made my own cake flour and only used vanilla instead of vanilla paste. I am new to your blog. Found it on Pinterest.
Hey Charlotte ~ maybe try it in a full sized loaf pan next time. Lots of things can cause rising issues, so not sure what went wrong beyond the pan sizes. Be sure to measure carefully and make sure your oven is actually at the temperature it says it’s at.
I am obsessed with this recipe! everyone who tried it loved it! thank you so much for sharing!!
Is this a recipe you could bake in a bundt pan? Or are your pound cakes a better option? I am trying to figure out how to make the best use of a new Nordic Ware pan and your recipes, including this one, sound delicious.
Hi! I’m hoping to make this on Friday, in a few days, for my MIL’s birthday. I wonder if you’ve tried doubling it in a bundt pan before? I have no clue what the baking time would be? Thank you for the recipe!
I haven’t, but it should work. A pound cake is a dense cake, so I’d check it at 40 minutes and go from there. It could take up to or just over an hour.
Thank you so much for your quick reply! I can report back after tomorrow 🙂
Doubling the recipe in the bundt pan worked great! I followed the recipe to the ‘t’ with no substitutions. It baked for 70 minutes at 325° (my pan is dark) and it was a lovely golden colour. Will make again!
Thank you Jenn!