Golden Vanilla Pound Cake

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Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Yield: 9" loaf cake, 18 servings.

Recipe photo

This pound cake is a rich, dark brown outside, with an ultra-fine, golden crumb. It's mimics closely the original proportions that define pound cake: a pound each of sugar, eggs, butter (we use a combo of butter and cream cheese), and flour. If you like a dense, firm, loaf-shaped classic pound cake, then this one's for you. One non-traditional touch: the vanilla-sugar glaze brushed atop the cake towards the end of the baking time, which gives it a crackly-crunchy top crust.

Golden Vanilla Pound Cake

star rating (75) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Yield: 9" loaf cake, 18 servings.
Published: 01/01/2010




Tips from our bakers

  • If desired, substitute 1 tablespoon lemon zest + 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil, OR 1/8 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia flavoring, for the vanilla and almond extracts.
  • If desired, bake the cake in a 9-cup tube or Bundt® pan. You'll need to bake it a shorter amount of time than in the loaf pan, so start checking at 55 minutes.
  • Since this cake is so dense, the baking time can be tricky. You want it thoroughly baked, but not dried out. When the cake is done, a cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean, and the internal temperature at the center will be at least 200°F. The top 1/4" or so of the top crust may still be moist and sticky; but it shouldn't be batter-like. The finished cake may have some moist streaks near the top crust; that's OK.
  • You'll find bringing the butter and cream cheese to room temperature makes them easier to beat without lumps forming. And room-temperature eggs help keep the batter lump-free, too. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to bring these ingredients to room temperature, so plan ahead.
  • This cake is wonderful sliced, warmed, and served with ice cream and berries, or hot fudge or caramel sauce. Lightly butter individual 1"-thick slices of cake, and toast (both sides) on a clean outdoor grill over low heat until just a tiny bit crispy. Alternatively, fry gently (like a grilled cheese sandwich) in a skillet. Serve immediately, topped with ice cream and the garnishes of your choice.


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1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" x 2 3/4" loaf pan, or a 12" x 4" x 4" tea loaf pan. To avoid overflow, be SURE to use the correct size pan!

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, salt, sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well combined.

3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; the mixture may look slightly curdled/grainy. After you've added the final egg, beat at high speed for 3 minutes. Once all the eggs are added, stir in the milk.

4) Add the cake enhancer, then sprinkle in the flour gradually, with the mixer going at low speed. Mix just until combined. The batter will be smooth and thick, but still pourable. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

5) To make the topping, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water. Stir until the mixture is syrupy. At first it'll seem very stiff, but will become "drizzlable" as you stir. Set the topping aside.

6) Set the cake on a baking sheet, for easiest handling and as a precaution against potential overflow (which shouldn't happen if you use the correct size pan). Bake it for 55 minutes (for either size pan).

7) Remove the cake from the oven, and brush/drizzle with the sugar mixture. Return the cake to the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack. Insert a toothpick into the center; it should come out clean. If you use an instant-read thermometer, the center should register about 200°F to 205°F. The very top, right under the crust, will still be kind of soggy; don't worry about it.

8) After 5 minutes loosen the cake's edges and turn it out of the pan to cool completely on a rack.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 1 slice (65g) Servings Per Batch: 18 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230 Calories from Fat: 100 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 75mg Sodium: 160mg Total Carbohydrate: 29g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 20g Protein: 4g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


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  • star rating 04/17/2015
  • capayn from KAF Community
  • My very frst time making a pound cake! I am so proud of myself as the cake looks, smells, feels and tastes like heaven! It's moist, chewy, spongy, dense, intense, just exactly the way I like my cake. Instead of 2 tsp of vanilla extract, I used 1 tsp of the extract and 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste, just because I happened to have a bottle of it handy and wanted to see how it would turn out. I think it's wonderful.

    Sounds like more than just beginner's luck, it sounds like you are a natural pound cake pro! We're so glad you were pleased with this recipe. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  • star rating 04/14/2015
  • daph07 from IA
  • The perfect pound cake. I did however, add 6oz of cream cheese as per some of the other reviewers comments and at the end , I microwaved a mixture of 1 TB rum, 2 TB water and vanilla with the recommended sugar and drizzled that over the cake after it came out of the oven. Added almonds on the top as I love nuts. It was incredible. After baking several versions of pound cakes, I think this is by far the best.
  • star rating 02/28/2015
  • Curtis from Greensboro,NC
  • Can I use an 1/4 tsp of Fiori di Sicilia instead of the 1/8. ?
    I think that would be fine, Curtis. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 02/17/2015
  • GenXHomeCook from KAF Community
  • I had a handle on this cake recipe the second time I baked it. The recipe is very versatile---I have now made dark chocolate and lemon versions of this recipe. Adding cocoa often requires adjusting the recipe by adding slightly more butter and cream cheese to increase moisture, I have found.
  • star rating 01/31/2015
  • bearbear94590 from KAF Community
  • I have made this pound cake before. Found it to be a little dry. So I modified three of the ingredients: I added 6 oz. of cream cheese instead of 3 oz. I used butter flavoring instead of almond, and I sifted the flour 3 times. And the cake turned out moist, and creamy with vanilla and buttery goodness.
    We are happy to hear that you were able to modify this recipe to suit your personal taste preference--no fault there! Thanks for sharing your tips with other King Arthur bakers. --Kye@KAF
  • star rating 11/01/2014
  • Jean from pacificnorthwest
  • I'm giving it 3 stars now before I forget to even rate it. The problem I had in making it was MEDIUM MIXING BOWL. I used a 5 qt and my KA and when I went to turn it on high to mix the eggs etc. Yep, you got it, batter went all over the place. Should have stuck with the 7 qt one. So, that was disappointing. I will re-rate it if it comes out exceptional in taste - if not the instructions were rated and not the cake itself.
  • star rating 07/27/2014
  • Joanne from Portland, Oregon
  • I followed the recipe exactly, used a dark tea loaf pan, no glaze and it was done completely in one hour. I turned the pan after 45 minutes. Waited an hour to taste it and it is excellent; would definitely make it again. I appreciate the weight option in the ingredient list, which is what I used. I'm having more later with sliced peaches and homemade peach ice cream!
  • star rating 06/30/2014
  • Kat from Columbia, SC
  • I made this pound cake this weekend for a family function and it was gone the same day. It tastes really good and it was moist. I didn't have almond extract so I substituted lemon zest. I also used extra vanilla extract and I used European butter. I made a second one with this recipe and added some melted butterscotch morsels and a little spiced rum and that was a big hit too.
  • star rating 06/14/2014
  • Marilyn from Atlanta, GA
  • I have made this recipe three times. Each time it gets better. It does not last long in my house. I added a little extra cream cheese and it still came out perfect. I flavored it with the lemon oil and lemon zest and made a lemon glaze. This will be my go to cake from now on.
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