With its quintessential vanilla flavor and fluffy, buttery texture, pound cake has reached legendary status in the baking world, making it just as popular as the torte or cheesecake. In celebration of National Pound Cake Day, we’ve rounded up the most memorable recipes and the history behind each unique adaptation of this iconic treat.
In the 18th century, Britain introduced their world famous pound cake, a favorite teatime treat that gets its name from a simple recipe – a pound each of butter, flour, eggs, and sugar. The result was a dense yellow cake that was enough to feed several families. Over the years, bakers adjusted the recipe for smaller servings but still maintained the 1:1:1:1 ratio.
By the 1800s, pound cake got an update with a lighter and smaller formula, but the name stuck as it made the rounds in popular cookbooks of the day such as American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. In the latter half of the century, pound cake was a popular dessert in the southern U.S., especially the recipes from the best-selling cookbook What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, which was published in 1881.
Mrs. Fisher’s pound cake is similar to the original recipe from across the pond but with a slight twist. Called “Gold Cake,” the recipe calls for just the egg yolks, giving this southern pound cake its golden color. The “Silver Cake” is an identical recipe for pound cake but with whipped egg whites. This recipe is still a favorite among bakers thanks to a delightful flavor that’s comparable to a traditional yellow cake but with a hint of citrus.
In the Prohibition era, the pound cake got a naughty makeover from Mrs. Chas. F Moritz, author of Every Woman’s Cook Book (1926), which includes the original pound cake recipe but with a punch of whiskey. The result is a delicate flavor that’s light but not too sweet. The added spirits also make this version super moist and with a fine crumb texture that melts in your mouth. This recipe doesn’t call for frosting, but a whiskey sugar coating and caramelized pecans give it a sweet and crunchy finish.
In Venezuela and Colombia, this dessert staple is a wine-soaked treat called ponque that is drenched in a creamy sugar frosting. In the French-speaking region of the Caribbean, they add rum to the batter and serve it with mashed bananas for a traditional Christmas Eve dessert.Today, modern-day leavening agents like baking soda/powder has made the classic pound cake even fluffier than the original recipe.
Try Ne-Mo’s Golden Pound Cake
When it comes to old-fashioned goodness, Ne-Mo’s Bakery takes the cake with their Golden Pound Cake slices, a made-from-scratch family recipe from the 1970s. Simple yet oh-so-satisfying, the rich, home-baked flavor makes it a wonderful stand-alone snack or a light but sturdy foundation for your favorite dessert toppings.
When you include this tasty delight into your baking repertoire, satisfying everybody’s sweet tooth is a piece of cake.