Buttermilk Pound Cake

August  5, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Makes 1 loaf
Author Notes

My favorite pound cake recipe uses buttermilk rather than milk, which gives the finished loaf the most beautiful (less dense) crumb and a slightly tangy flavor that's great with jam. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe, featured in the article Goat Milk Butter Is a Game-Changing Swap for Baked Goods, also welcomes a 1:1 goat milk butter swap—it'll add an earthy adjustment, with a slight tang that works nicely with the buttermilk. To amp up the goat milk butter flavor, you can also make these tweaks: Change 3 cups of flour to 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of almond flour; use regular sugar; and add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. (And for an all-goat dairy version, try goat milk kefir instead of buttermilk.) —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups vanilla sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • coarse sugar, for garnish
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping well after each addition.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mix just until incorporated.
  3. Add 1/3 of the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated. Repeat until all of the dry and wet ingredients are added, scrape the bowl well.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased, parchment lined loaf pan and top generously with coarse sugar. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool 15 minutes in the pan before unmolding, then cool completely before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • CaliGrits
  • Naomi
  • Kim Alexander
    Kim Alexander
  • EmilyC
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

6 Reviews

CaliGrits February 28, 2021
This is the best vanilla pound cake I have ever made. I made the same adjustment for vanilla sugar as another reviewer suggested. My bake time was about 70 minutes (it’s my oven) with the larger loaf pan. Perfect and thank you for sharing.
Naomi January 23, 2020
Made with Bob's Red Mill 1:1 GF flour, added 2 tsp vanilla extract since I don't keep vanilla sugar on hand, and baked the loaves in 2 smaller pans for just under 45 minutes (do not overcook or that beautiful dense moisture will be ruined--the tester came out clean before I expected it to). Turned out gorgeous! Thanks!
Kim A. April 14, 2019
Can someone tell me why there is no vanilla? I know vanilla sugar is used, but I feel there should be an extract to enhance? Plan on using vanillamor almond. Any ideas?
Cris J. December 5, 2016
This cake is so good! I had to split it between a loaf pan and another smaller pan .. I forgot to sprinkle it with sugar, and I'm pretty sure there wasn't a baking time mentioned (so plan on an hour or so).
Vicki June 5, 2015
Delicious and very easy to make! Worth keeping in the recipe rotation.
EmilyC August 13, 2014
This is so, so delicious. LOVE the cap of raw sugar on top -- those crunchy bites are the best. It makes a big loaf which is nice -- I needed to use my 9.5" loaf pan because the batter didn't fit into my standard 8.5" one. Thanks for this gem!