13 Ways To Ruin A Pound Cake

Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake
Photo: Jim Franco

We love a good pound cake. It is light and fluffy, and there are so many different pound cake recipes to try. However, when it comes to baking them, there are a lot of pitfalls to watch out for. Even the slightest things, like opening the oven for too long while it's baking can cause your pound cake to turn out not as great as it could be. Avoid these mistakes to ensure you make the perfect pound cake recipe every time.

01 of 13

Mistake: Not Reading The Entire Recipe

Two-Step Pound Cake
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

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

02 of 13

Mistake: Substituting For Store Brands

Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

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-Lime Pound Cake

03 of 13

Mistake: Not Measuring Accurately

Million Dollar Pound Cake
Photography: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

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: Million Dollar Pound Cake

04 of 13

Mistake: Using Ingredients Straight From The Refrigerator

Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake
Alison Miksch

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: Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake Recipe

05 of 13

Mistake: Beating The Butter Too Fast

Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Jennifer Davick

Beat softened butter (and cream cheese or vegetable shortening) at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. This can take from one to seven 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

06 of 13

Mistake: Overbeating The Eggs

Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake
Southern Living

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-Frosted Pound Cake

07 of 13

Mistake: Overmixing The Batter

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake
Jennifer Causey

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: Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

08 of 13

Mistake: Using The Wrong Type Of Cake Pan

Mini Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cakes
Photo: Alison Miksch

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: Mini Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cakes

09 of 13

Mistake: Greasing Your Pan With Cooking Spray

Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes
Brian Woodcock

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: Mini Apple Cider Pound Cakes

10 of 13

Mistake: Trusting Your Oven's Temperature Setting

Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake
Jim Franco

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: Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake

11 of 13

Mistake: Opening The Oven Door Before It's Done

Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake
Southern Living

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: Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake

12 of 13

Mistake: Taking The Cake Out Of The Oven Too Early Or Too Late

Key Lime Pound Cake
Jen Causey

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

13 of 13

Mistake: Removing The Cake From The Pan Too Early Or Too Late

Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Jennifer Davick

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: Pistachio Pound Cake

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