Cake

This Buttery, Too-Darn-Easy Pound Cake Breaks All the Cake Rules

July  3, 2018

No—I did not invent a recipe for making an excellent pound cake in a food processor. But I know a good thing when I see it, and I saw this good thing in America’s Test Kitchen’s latest book The Perfect Cake. It was simply called “Pound Cake.” Talk about burying the lead!

I immediately noticed that it was made in a food processor and with melted butter. If you don’t bake much, you may not know that this just breaks soooo many rules (which is also a good reason for anyone who doesn’t bake much to make this cake). I had to make it. When I reviewed the book for the Wall Street Journal, I felt I owed it to everyone involved—especially readers—to test a few of the recipes. This cake looked improbable and too darn easy. Pound cakes can be tricky, and a failed one (or just a bad recipe) makes a fine doorstop—either way, I knew I’d have some decent talking points after testing this one.

This cake looked improbable and too darn easy.

The pound cake was a rousing success. It looked and smelled like pound cake. It was buttery, close-grained, and tender. I nibbled it before bed, and craved it with coffee the next morning. Hypothetically—since there were none—stale slices would have toasted up nicely.

Shop the Story

The method remains improbable: pour hot melted butter over sugar and eggs in a food processor, then scrape the batter into a mixing bowl and whisk the flour in by hand. Transfer to loaf pan. Bake. It works. How could you not want to make this?

Not only did I want to make the cake again, I wanted to play with it (beyond the lemon, orange, and almond variations given in the original recipe). The fact that hot melted butter was involved begged for steeping aromatics and spices in the butter. I visited my recently refreshed spice drawer (a whole other story) for inspiration and tried combinations like toasted coriander seeds with cinnamon and cardamom; freshly ground coffee with ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon; saffron with vanilla, and more. I tried a version with brown butter, adding a little water to the batter to compensate for the water driven off in the browning of the butter. And then, since the recipe goes together in a matter of minutes, it was easy to find time to try swapping brown sugar for half of the white sugar.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I'm a decent baker and love a good pound cake but had not had a lot of luck without making bricks before trying this recipe. It might as well be called "no fail pound cake" for how good it is. Even I don't have a food processor, it can be done with an immersion blender or even a wire whip/whisk and it still works.”
— wildgourmet
Comment

I’m sharing the basic recipe with a few of my variations here—because, well, I can’t just leave a good thing alone. Next time I’m going to try using some of the endless jaggery samples leftover from my jaggery shortbread.

I’m not done with this pound cake yet, but I think you can carry on without me!


Another Breakfast/Snack Option, Right This Way:

How do you want to riff on this pound cake? Let us know in the comments!

13 Comments

wildgourmet August 7, 2018
I've made this recipe before when I saw it at ATK or in Cook's Magazine, I forget which...it was one of those recipes where they found the best method to do something. I'm a decent baker and love a good pound cake but had not had a lot of luck without making bricks before trying this recipe. It might as well be called "no fail pound cake" for how good it is. Even I don't have a food processor, it can be done with an immersion blender or even a wire whip/whisk and it still works.
 
Karen O. July 13, 2018
Would the hot butter cook the eggs?
 
Beth D. July 13, 2018
If I want to make this with almond extract or coconut - how much do I add to the recipe?
 
Author Comment
Alice M. July 13, 2018
I'd start gently, with maybe 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. I don't have experience with coconut extract.
 
Lashawn B. July 13, 2018
Does it have to be mixed in a food processor? Can you use a blender?<br />
 
Lisa B. July 13, 2018
You can use a blender.
 
annarose July 4, 2018
How did the version with brown sugar turn out?
 
Nikkitha B. July 4, 2018
Very well! That was a test kitchen fave.
 
wietje July 4, 2018
Whoaaa, looks like a genius recipe to me. Question: can I use a blender or hand mixer instead?
 
Lisa B. July 13, 2018
You can use a blender.
 
Leigh July 3, 2018
Could I use unbleached all-purpose flour instead of unbleached cake flour?
 
Michele July 3, 2018
I just made mini ones with AP flour, removing 3 tablespoons of the flour and replacing with cornstarch to mimic cake flour. It worked fine. They needed about 45 minutes in mini loaf pans to get to 212F. Good luck.
 
Nikkitha B. July 3, 2018
My pound cakes pretty much always end up feeling like doorstops, so I'm very excited for this one!