13 Ways To Ruin a Pound Cake
Want to Make a Perfect Pound Cake? Watch This First.
Mistake: Not reading the entire recipe
Carefully read through the entire recipe, and prepare any special ingredients, such as chopped fruits or toasted nuts, before mixing the batter.
Pictured Recipe: Two-Step Pound Cake
Mistake: Substituting store brands
Prepare the recipe as directed, and use name-brand ingredients. Store brands of sugar are often more finely ground than name brands, yielding more sugar per cup, which can cause the cake to fall. Store brands of butter may contain more liquid fat, and flours more hard wheat, making the cake heavy.
- Pictured Recipe: Lemon Pound Cake with Mint Berries and Cream
Mistake: Not measuring accurately
Be sure to use dry measuring cups for flour and sugar. Spoon flour into the cups and lightly level with the straight edge of a small offset spatula or knife. Extra sugar or leavening causes a cake to fall; extra flour makes it dry.
Pictured Recipe: Eggnog Pound Cake
Step-by-Step Video: Festive Eggnog Pound Cake
Mistake: Using ingredients straight from the refrigerator
For maximum volume, have ingredients at room temperature. We like to premeasure our ingredients and assemble them in the order listed. That way, if interrupted, you’re less likely to make a mistake.
- Pictured Recipe: Amaretto Almond Pound Cake
Mistake: Beating butter too fast
Beat softened butter (and cream cheese or vegetable shortening) at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. This can take from 1 to 7 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until light and fluffy. These steps are important because they whip air into the cake batter so it will rise during baking.
- Pictured Recipe: Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Mistake: Overbeating the eggs
Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yolk disappears. Overbeating the eggs may cause the batter to overflow the sides of the pan during baking or create a fragile crust that crumbles and separates from the cake as it cools.
- Pictured Recipe: Caramel Pound Cake
Mistake: Overmixing the batter
Always add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. This will help to ensure that the dry and wet ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Mix just until blended after each addition. Overmixing the batter creates a tough, rubbery cake.
Pictured Recipe: Sauvignon Blanc Pound Cake
Mistake: Using the wrong type of cake pan
Pound cake recipes calling for a tube pan won’t always fit in a Bundt pan. (Tube pans have straight, high sides, while Bundt pans are more shallow and fluted.) Although both may measure 10 inches in diameter, each holds a different amount of batter. We also found that some 10-inch tube pans hold 12 cups of batter while others hold 14 or 16 cups. The same pound cake recipe rises and bakes differently in each pan. When unsure of size, use a cup measure to fill the cake pan with water to determine the pan's capacity.
Pictured Recipe: Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake
Mistake: Greasing your pan with cooking spray
Grease cake pans with solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, and always dust with flour—a slippery surface keeps the batter from rising to its full volume.
Pictured Recipe: Buttermilk Pound Cake with Custard Sauce
Mistake: Trusting your oven's temperature setting
Use an oven thermometer to check your oven’s temperature for accuracy. Many home ovens bake hotter or cooler than the temperatures to which they’re set.
- Pictured Recipe: Buttered Rum Pound Cake with Bananas Foster Sauce
Mistake: Opening the oven door before it's done
Place the cake pan in the center of the oven, and keep the door closed until the minimum baking time has elapsed. If the cake requires more baking, gently close the oven door as soon as possible after testing to prevent jarring and loss of heat—both can cause a cake to fall if it’s not done.
- Pictured Recipe: Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake
Mistake: Taking the cake out of the oven too early or too late
Test for doneness by inserting a long wooden pick into the center of the cake. It should come out clean, with no batter or wet crumbs clinging to it. (Some cakes will have a crack in the center that appears wet even when fully cooked so avoid this area when testing.)
Pictured Recipe: Key Lime Pound Cake
Mistake: Removing the cake from the pan too early or too late
After removing from the oven, place the pound cake, right side up, in the pan on a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes away from drafts. This allows the cake to become firm enough to remove from the pan without breaking apart. Cooling too long in the pan will cause the cake to be damp and stick to the pan. Remove pound cake from pan to wire rack, and let cool completely.
- Pictured Recipe: Sour Cream Pound Cake with Fresh Peaches