Originally this fine-textured loaf cake was made with one pound each of flour, butter, sugar and eggs, plus a flavoring like vanilla or lemon. A myriad of variations have evolved throughout the years, with additions such as leavening (baking powder or baking soda) and flavorings such as coconut, nuts, raisins and dried fruit. With reduced cholesterol and calories in mind, there are now pound cakes made with vegetable oil, as well as nonfat versions.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.