Making pound cake at home is insanely easy! This sour cream pound cake recipe yields an incredibly buttery, moist, and soft cake that practically melts in your mouth.
What is pound cake?
The name pound cake comes from its origin. The traditional pound cake recipe started out by using a pound of each base ingredient. So that was a pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.
While the traditional cake is plenty delicious, I do find the classic recipe benefits from a few small tweaks to help get a softer and more moist cake. The traditional pound cake recipe can be a bit dense and dry for my taste!
Pound cake ingredients:
On top of the classic flour, sugar, butter, and eggs, this pound cake uses a few extra ingredients to make it even better!
• baking powder: a touch helps give your cake a bit more rise in the center. No more dense pound cakes!
• salt: just a bit of salt helps balance out the sweetness of the cake
• vanilla extract: optional, but it felt wrong not including it in a cake recipe! It gives the pound cake a subtle vanilla flavor to it, which I love!
• sour cream: now this is one of the biggest drifts from the traditional pound cake recipe! Sour cream gives you a slightly tangy, rich, tender, and moist pound cake. The freshness from the sour cream also helps cut through all of the butter and eggs
• cake and pastry flour: Another small ingredient tweak I’ve made is using cake and pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. The cake and pastry flour will yield a fluffier and more tender cake!
You can swap the c&p flour out for regular all-purpose, which will give a more structured cake. You can also make your own cake and pastry flour by combining all-purpose flour and cornstarch!
How to make pound cake:
1. Whisk your dry ingredients together. Set aside to prep the wet ingredients.
2. Beat the butter on high speed. The butter should grow slightly in volume and turn a light pale yellow.
3. Add your sugar, and beat the mixture on high speed again. Your mixture should be light and fluffy, and you shouldn’t see any more dry sugar granules.
4. Add your eggs into the mixture, one at a time. Beat well after each addition before moving on to the next egg. Add your vanilla and mix to combine.
5. Alternate adding dry ingredients and sour cream. Add in half of your dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add your sour cream and mix again until mostly combined (some streaks are fine). Add your remaining dry ingredients and fold them into the cake batter until just combined. Take care not to over mix!!
6. Transfer your cake batter to a 8×4 inch loaf pan. Bake your cake in a preheated 350°F oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake turns a deep golden color and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
** I like to check on the cake after about 40 minutes to see how quickly it’s browning. If you find the outside is browning too quickly, loosely tent your cake with aluminum foil to prevent burning. **
7. Let your cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Turn the loaf out of the pan and cool completely to room temperature on a cooling rack. Slice and serve!
How to store pound cake:
Once cooled to room temperature, wrap your pound cake up tightly with plastic wrap to preserve freshness. Pound cake will keep for around 5 days at room temperature and up to 1 week in the fridge.
To keep your cake from drying out, avoid slicing until right before serving. A whole loaf of pound cake will keep longer than slices because the crust acts like a shield for the inside!
How to freeze pound cake:
To freeze your pound cake, wrap tightly in a layer of plastic wrap then a layer of aluminum foil. Pound cake will keep for around 2 months frozen.
Before serving, defrost your pound cake at room temperature for a few hours, or overnight in the fridge.
Pound cake variations and substitutions:
You can substitute and include a few different ingredients to spice up this classic pound cake recipe! Some ideas include:
• swap out the sour cream for cream cheese to make a cream cheese pound cake
• add a tablespoon each of lemon zest and lemon juice to make lemon pound cake
• add some melted chocolate or cocoa powder to make a chocolate pound cake (if you choose cocoa powder, you’ll need another 1/4 cup of sour cream as well so the cake doesn’t end up dry!)
• swap all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) for your choice of cake mix to make cake mix pound cake
• add fresh/frozen, chopped strawberries to the batter to make strawberry pound cake
• add fresh/frozen blueberries to make blueberry pound cake
• add fresh/frozen, chopped peaches to make peach pound cake
If you liked this pound cake recipe, check out some of these other recipes!
Sour Cream Pound Cake Recipe
- 1 & 1/2 cups cake & pastry flour * see notes for substitution
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sour cream ** see notes for substitution
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×5 inch or 8×4 inch loaf pan by greasing and lining with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside. *** (see notes)
- In a medium sized bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine, and set aside to work on the wet ingredients.
- In a large bowl, add in your cup of butter. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it just under doubles in volume and turns a pale color.
- Add your sugar to the butter and beat for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until you no longer see any dry sugar. The mixture may seem a bit grainy here, but that's perfectly normal! Add your eggs into the butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add your vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
- Add half of your flour mixture to the butter and egg mix. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add your sour cream and again fold in until just combined. Add your final addition of dry ingredients and mix until you no longer see dry flour. Take care not to over mix.
- Pour your cake batter into your prepared loaf pan. Spread out the batter into an even layer. Bake in your preheated 350°F oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake turns a deep golden color and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If your cake starts browning too quickly, cover the loaf pan loosely with aluminum foil to slow down the browning process.
- Allow your cake to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes in the pan. Run a knife along the edges of the pan, and turn the cake onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely to room temperature. Slice and serve!