This Classic Southern Pound Cake recipe makes a velvety and delicious pound cake! Golden crust and moist cake with a silky texture and rich vanilla flavor make this versatile heirloom recipe a dessert favorite! Perfect for any occasion!
Pound cakes are versatile desserts and can be found anywhere from a fancy dinner to a family reunion here in the South! This pound cake recipe from my grandmother is a long-time family favorite, just like many other treasured desserts, such as Southern Banana Pudding and Pecan Pie.
Classic Southern pound cake is a traditional yet treasured dessert in the South. Some recipes are passed down through the generations, like my grandmother’s heirloom pound cake recipe, which my family has enjoyed hundreds of times. It’s moist and tender, never dry as some can be. It’s a dense cake but has such a light vanilla flavor, and it’s amazing served all on its own or dressed up a bit when topped with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and fresh fruit.
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Why I Love This Recipe
Easy and Dependable – Made with simple ingredients in a bundt or loaf pans – with baking directions for both. The recipe stands the test of time and is simple to make.
Delicious and Versatile – So tasty and beautiful, it’s perfect for birthday celebrations, entertaining, or Sunday supper; it’s also just as appropriate when served at a tailgate, picnic, or potluck dinner.
Tender with Structure – While pound cakes are dense, this one has a light, velvety texture and the perfect “crumb.” It’s moist, never dry, and has the most incredible-tasting golden brown crust I’ve ever tasted in a pound cake.
How to Make Classic Southern Pound Cake
This cake recipe is made with simple baking ingredients you most likely have in your pantry and refrigerator – nothing fancy is required. But the final outcome of this phenomenal yet humble cake is decadent, delicious, and truly something special! Here’s how you’ll make it.
Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.
- Butter – Use unsalted butter that you’ve allowed to soften to room temperature.
- Shortening – Use vegetable shortening and softened butter for a moist result with the perfect crumb. If you store your shortening in the refrigerator, let it reach room temperature before creaming it with the butter and sugar.
- Granulated sugar – Gives sweetness to the pound cake. It’s best to stick to the time-tested recipe and use sugar. (You’ll notice in the photos the sugar is not white; it’s homemade vanilla sugar but is still granulated sugar.)
- Eggs – This recipe uses five large eggs, which help give the cake its signature density and structure and help it rise. Let your eggs reach room temperature before mixing your cake.
- Flour – You will use all-purpose flour and self-rising flour in this recipe. This old-fashioned pound cake recipe uses self-rising flour, too.
- Milk – I use whole milk. Some pound cakes don’t use any liquid, but this southern recipe does and helps give it a light, velvety texture.
- Vanilla extract – use this homemade vanilla extract recipe, or use your favorite high-quality vanilla. If you like almond flavor, use 1 teaspoon each of vanilla and almond extract.
Prep. Preheat the oven and prepare the loaf pans (or bundt cake pan) by completely greasing them with shortening and dusting them with flour (shake out excess) or spraying with non-stick baking spray.
Cream ingredients together. Cream the softened butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Do not overmix.
Add eggs. Reduce the mixer to low speed, add the eggs one at a time, and mix just until each egg is incorporated.
Mix in both types of flour and the milk. With the mixer on low speed, add flour and milk alternately. Make sure to combine well after the additions, but do not overmix. Stir in vanilla extract.
Pour batter into cake pans. Scoop the blended pound cake batter into the prepared loaf pans or bundt pan and bake as directed in the recipe until done.
Remove from oven and cool. When the cake is done, a skewer inserted in the cake’s center should come out clean or with just a few crumbs. (Also see How to Tell When Your Cake is Done). After allowing it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, turn the pound cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve the pound cake. Place the pound cake on a serving dish. Slice and serve. Serve alone or with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and fresh fruit, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of easy caramel sauce.
Why is it called Pound Cake?
The pound cake recipe gets its name because each main ingredient added one pound to the cake. It had a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, and a pound of eggs. What a cake!
Tips for the Best Pound Cake
- Use ingredients as listed for best results.
- Allow ingredients to reach room temperature before mixing.
- Don’t overmix the batter.
- Use a long wooden skewer to test whether the cake is done. This is a dense cake that a toothpick won’t go deep enough. If wet batter is on the skewer, it is not done. If a few crumbs are on the skewer, then it’s done. Do not overbake it. This cake is meant to be moist!
- Make sure to use a wire rack for cooling! Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip it onto the wire rack to finish cooling. If left in the pan to cool too long, it could cause the cake to stick.
To store. Keep the completely cooled cake under a cake dome or covered with wrap on the counter for 4-5 days (if it lasts that long!)
To freeze. Allow the cake to cool completely. Wrap the cake well with plastic wrap, then again with foil, and place in an airtight freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator to serve. When you remove it from the refrigerator, remove the wrapping and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
More Pound Cake Recipes
We love good pound cakes and make even more in addition to this Classic Pound Cake! Here are a few more that are absolutely scrumptious, too!
When I make grandmother’s pound cake, I can’t help but think of all the families she shared it with over the years – to celebrate, mourn, and just because. Her gift of sharing through her delicious cooking and baking and her kind words made an impression on me and many others. She was truly a great lady. And she made a fantastic pound cake.
Here’s her Classic Pound Cake Recipe. I hope you love it, too.
Classic Pound Cake Recipe
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (184 g) shortening
- 2 1/2 cups (495 g) granulated sugar
- 5 (250 g) eggs, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (56.5 g) self-rising flour
- 1 cup (227 g) milk
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) vanilla extract , or 1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract
- Preheat oven to 300º F. Prepare a large bundt pan or three loaf pans by greasing with vegetable shortening and flour, removing any excess flour, or spray with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
- Cream together softened butter, vegetable shortening, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- With mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Add the flour and milk alternately, mixing on low speed, making sure to combine well but not overmix. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake 1 1/2 hours or in loaf pans for 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
- Remove the cake from the oven when done. Cool for 10 minutes in the cake pan sitting on a wire rack. Then turn the cake out onto the wire rack to cool completely.
Storage TipsTo store. Keep the completely cooled cake under a cake dome or covered with wrap on the counter for 4-5 days. To freeze. Allow the cake to cool completely. Wrap the cake well with plastic wrap, then again with foil, and place in an airtight freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator to serve. When you remove it from the refrigerator, remove the wrapping and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.