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Classic Pound Cake

Light on effort, heavy on flavor, pound cake has earned its centuries-long popularity.

  • Yield: Makes 2 cakes
Classic Pound Cake

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July 2009


  • 1 pound (3 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 4 sticks softened unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 9 large, room-temperature eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 5-by-9-inch loaf pans. Combine all-purpose flour and salt in a bowl.

  2. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, for 8 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla extract.

  3. Lightly beat eggs, and add to mixer bowl in 4 additions, mixing thoroughly after each and scraping down sides. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 4 additions, mixing until just incorporated. Divide batter between pans. Tap on counter to distribute; smooth tops.

  4. Bake until a tester inserted into center of each cake comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack.

Reviews (28)

  • DRGuzman 6 Jan, 2015

    I love this receipe. I used a tablespoon of 33% less sodium salt. It's the first time I made this receipe. I love it.

  • Hemera 17 Sep, 2014

    This recipe came out perfectly. I just wanted to leave a comment because some people are having trouble with the salt. I used the whole tablespoon, and I used course salt. Because I saw that some reviewers had used course salt and still felt the cakes came out salty, I took the advice of an earlier comment and put the salt into the butter/sugar mixture halfway through creaming them together. I highly recommend this method, as the batter was perfect and the cakes are delicious.

  • Mary Sims 2 Aug, 2014

    We had a dinner party last night and I wanted the PERFECT pound cake so where else to go but to Martha. LOVE her cooking classes on PBS, etc. Well, my sweet husband told me "a whole tablespoon of salt??!!". Yes, that is what Martha said. I didn't eat any at the party but after cleaning up sat down to eat a piece of this beautiful cake. It was very salty. The only thing I can think is that I didn't have "Course Salt" and used Kosher. No one commented on the saltiness, just it was so pretty

  • Michelle Chisholm 22 Feb, 2014

    I was skeptical of the salt called for in the recipe, but I trust Martha. Mine came out beautifully. Firm but light, buttery but not greasy, and not eggy tasting. The only thing I did differently was add the salt to the butter and sugar halfway through the creaming process. I wanted to be sure it dissolved well. If I were troubleshooting for the reviewers who said it was too salty, I would wonder if they used salted butter instead of unsalted and or table salt instead of coarse.

  • Redds 21 Jan, 2014

    I don't know about anyone else but I bake by weight so the recipe always comes out the same.

  • Sujomgmt 18 Sep, 2013

    I read the other reviews and they are so far from my experience in making this recipe. I used 1 TB if salt per the recipe and my cake tasted great. Gave many slices away and everyone loved it.
    I did, however, use Kosher salt, which is different than table or sea salt. My cakes were perfect. I'm makings re tonight. Try it again using Kosher salt instead.
    Also, weigh out your eggs after you've cracked open the shells. Make sure your eggs weigh 1lb.

  • irisheyes60 24 Apr, 2013

    UGH! Too salty and mine didn't rise nearly enough. I wanted to compare it to my mother's recipe and it doesn't even come close...too much butter and almost twice as many eggs. I do halve the batter and make one regular cake and the other I add about 1/2 tsp of almond extract and about 1 Tbsp. of poppy seeds. I prefer almond pound cake rather than lemon like most people make. The almond one always disappears first!

  • Kelly Lasky 8 Apr, 2013

    I agree the cake turned out beautiful, but the taste was ruined by the amount of salt! I would use maybe a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of vanilla instead... Yuck!

  • pakp 1 Apr, 2013

    Please correct this recipe! The salt ruined a perfectly wonderful cake. Great texture, great crumb but there is no way you should use a tablespoon of salt. And yes, I used coarse salt as the recipe called for....

  • Beth Schmitz 26 Feb, 2013

    There is a difference between coarse salt and table salt. The conversion is NOT one to one.

  • ajm 19 Sep, 2012

    Why is there no baking powder, or baking soda?

    Do the eggs really enable the cake to rise completely?

  • Nina Kwr 24 Jul, 2012

    I tried the recipe with a teaspoon of salt... it was perfect... I like it

  • cakeyirene 13 Apr, 2012

    This recipe is wrong it should only have a teaspoon of salt not a tablespoon, be warned mine went in the bin!!!

  • CParrish 15 Aug, 2011

    I am guessing based on the other reviews that mine only came out wrong because of me- Mine was seeping with butter and did not rise - Did I just not beat the butter and sugar long enough?

  • jarona 23 Feb, 2011

    Made this cake last night. However, I did tweak a couple of things: Subbed pinch of table salt for the coarse. Added rind of one lemon and juice of one lemon. Added more vanilla than called for. Did cream the butter/sugar for 8 minutes. Very important step. Will absolutely make this again, but will need to add some sort of liquid b/c cake was just a small tad on the dry side--just a tad. If this cake were just a bit more moist it would have reached perfection status.

  • bubbles11 21 Feb, 2011

    This is a great pound cake, but yes it is a bit on the salty side. I would decrease salt to 1-1 1/2 tsp. of salt.

  • samira54 22 Jan, 2011

    4 sticks butter=1 lb= 454grams

  • MissMikki 18 Nov, 2010

    4 sticks of butter equals one pound in US measurements. I don't know what it is in kilograms...

  • koonwy 12 Aug, 2010

    I'm always a fan of Martha's cake recipes but sometimes I have difficulty in the measurement, in this case, the use of 4 sticks of butters. Can anyone tell me how much is 4 sticks of butter in kg or gram? I appreciate any feedback. Thanks

  • Copenhagenmama 30 May, 2010

    Best cake I've ever made! Definitely follow directions carefully-DO cream butter and sugar the full amount of time! Absolutely worth it! Halved the recipe btw, and used four eggs plus couple of teaspoons of the fifth.

  • Kritten56 26 May, 2010

    I made this cake for my was excellent. I chose to make it with only 1/2 tablespoon coarse salt and it came out perfectly moist and rich. This recipe is a keeper!

  • KwirkQT 28 Oct, 2009

    I made this cake without alterations for my mother-in-law's birthday and it turned out fabulous. I weighed the flour and sugar instead of measuring it, and used coarse Kosher salt and a good quality bourbon vanilla and everyone loved it. Not too sweet, but ever so rich and flavorful.

  • ChefKristen 15 Sep, 2009

    So I have made this and I am making it again now (fingers crossed, no jinx, no jinx) and I have found that if you use cake flour, and really really cream the hell out of the butter and sugar you get a really nice product. I also just the salt down to 1 tsp per lb of flour, I am using bulk bin sea salt.



  • cookie1427 23 Aug, 2009

    I was about to make this recipe but worried since the comments are negative. Any one out there with suggestions?


  • BeckyLyn 15 Jul, 2009

    I made this last night and had to throw it out - WAY TOO SALTY!

  • MarthaandMeBlogger 24 Jun, 2009

    I made 3 varieties. I wasn't thrilled with any. I didn't have a salt problem, but I used salted butter and added just a pinch. I don't understand Martha's obsession with coarse salt in baking. You can see my results here:

  • alace 21 Jun, 2009

    I baked this cake following recipe but had to throw them out. TOO SALTY. Really 1 tablespoon of coarse salt? I think maybe it should've been 1 tsp of coarse salt. Has anyone else had the same results?

  • lefleur 17 Jun, 2009

    I bake all the time and followed this recipe exactly. My cakes came out looking and smelling great but they are really dry. Any ideas of what to do now?

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