Best Pound Cake

2 9-by-5-inch loaves

Here's the test kitchen's favorite recipe for a classic pound cake. If you prefer your pound cake with a slightly less dense texture, follow our instructions below for a lighter variation that incorporates baking powder and sour cream into the batter.


  • 1 pound (3 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (lighter version only)

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans

  • 1 pound (2 ¼ cups) sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 9 large eggs, room temperature

  • ¾ cup sour cream, room temperature (lighter version only)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a bowl, whisk together flour and salt. (If making the lighter version, add baking powder at same time as salt.)

  2. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to medium; beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each and scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 2 batches (alternating with sour cream if making the lighter version), beating until just incorporated.

  3. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Tap pans on counter; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each cake comes out clean, about 70-75 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack to cool completely.

    pound cake
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