Classic Pound Cake, Plus 6 Variations to Try This Spring

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Easy, versatile and wildly unappreciated by the calorie-conscious, pound cake is the sweet star of bake sales and brunches alike. But no matter the audience, this old-school cake captivates with its uniquely rich and dense texture.

Its name comes from the traditional recipe that calls for a pound each of flour, butter, sugar and eggs — though the name “pound cake” is now synonymous with any buttery cake prepared in a loaf pan or Bundt mold. Choose one of our crowd-pleasing recipes, then use it as a canvas for ice cream, caramel sauce, fresh fruit or glaze.

The Classic

A classic pound cake should live up to its name, so don’t be surprised to see a whole pound of butter in the ingredients list of this Purely Pound Cake recipe. If you aren’t serving the cake right away, wrap it in parchment paper to help keep it moist.

Halve the Butter

Ina Garten’s Honey-Vanilla Pound Cake is still dense and buttery, even though her version calls for two sticks of butter instead of four. Honey, lemon zest and vanilla extract make the loaf plenty flavorful.

Top with Fresh Fruit

In another lighter take, Giada De Laurentiis substitutes ricotta cheese for some of the butter in her Ricotta-Orange Pound Cake. Keep this recipe on hand for your next spring brunch, as strawberries are just coming back into season and this fluffy cake is just the thing to soak up the sweet berry juice.

Add Chocolate …

Sour cream can also be used to take the place of some of the butter — and with excellent results, as you’ll find in this moist Hot Chocolate Marble Pound Cake. Avoid cocoa mixes that contain powdered milk or other dairy products, which can change the structure and texture of the cake.

… Or Tangy Lemon

Ina finishes her Lemon Cake with a tart glaze that manages to cut through the butter and deliver some bright citrus notes. The recipe replaces some of the butter with tangy buttermilk to really play up the sweet-and-sour flavor.

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Break Out the Bundt Pan

Although a loaf pan is more common for pound cake preparation, the Bundt-pan shape brings a fancier look to your dessert spread. You can make this rich Chocolate Pound Cake up to one month before serving. Just thaw it and add the glaze the next time you’re expecting guests

When All Else Fails

Bobby Flay’s Grilled Pineapple with Pound Cake and Rum-Caramel Sauce comes together with the help of store-bought cake. Doctor it up with juicy grilled pineapple, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. We’re not judging.