Yeasted Pound Cake

October 23, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Makes one 10-inch bundt cake
Author Notes

A return to olde tyme cakes of yore (sort of), this pound cake is leavened with yeast. It takes minimal effort, but it does require a little patience to deal with the lengthy rise time (I love the way it forces me to slow down). The result is well worth it. I like to serve it with whipped cream and roasted fruit. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups (15.85 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 2/3 cups (14.00 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) instant yeast
  • 4 sticks (16.00 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 1/4 cups (11.30 ounces) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 4 (7.50 ounces) eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (1.00 ounces) vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
  • Roasted fruit, for serving (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Add the yeast and stir to combine.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk the butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla to combine.
  3. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Mix well to ensure it’s fully combined, but take care not to over-mix.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (make sure the batter has enough room to rise: it will nearly double in size). Let rise at a moderate temperature (don’t put it in the fridge, and don’t leave it by the stove) for 12 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
  6. Stir the batter to deflate it. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Let the batter rise at room temperature again for 1 hour. It won’t double in size this time, but it should increase noticeably in volume, about 25%.
  7. Bake the cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes. This is a hefty cake, so it will take a while. If you feel like the cake is browning too quickly, you can tent the surface with foil and/or reduce the oven temperature 25° F.
  8. Cool for 20 minutes inside the pan, then invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. Garnish with confectioners' sugar and serve with roasted fruit if desired.
  9. This cake holds pretty well, for up to 4 days, because it’s so moist. Just remember to keep it well wrapped in an airtight container after slicing to prevent it from drying out.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • DM Compton
    DM Compton
  • Steven Williamson
    Steven Williamson
  • Catherine Lamb
    Catherine Lamb
  • Laura Lou Denman
    Laura Lou Denman
  • Regine
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!

13 Reviews

Don't B. January 19, 2021
I'd recommend 1) dividing this recipe in half unless you're serving a banquet, and 2) not purposely deflating the batter at any point. The argument of bulk fermentation + final proof does not make much sense here: we're making cake, not bread. There is already a pound of butter preventing the yeast from doing its job, so don't make it more difficult by deflating the dough after 12 hours of wait. It is a hefty cake, like the recipe's author says (not sure why that is a good thing). And yeah, proof your yeast if using 'active dry' instead of 'instant'.

Would not make it again, personally.
DM C. August 28, 2019
I am also curious about the listed weights of the ingredients. Was this recipe developed using the listed weights or volume? My initial attempt using scale resulted in a dense oily cake. Would love to try it again.
Steven W. April 18, 2017
I'd find it hard to wait this long for cake, but if there was a "normal" pound cake nearby, I think I could manage the 12 + hour wait!
cc April 9, 2017
I'd recommend proofing the yeast in this recipe. I mixed it as instructed at around 8 pm, then checked on it again at midnight--not even a single bubble. I put it in a lightly warmed oven then checked it again at 6:30am and again no change. I warmed the oven again, more aggressively this time, and at 10:30 am it was finally rising. I let it rise until 3 (19 hours total) when I absolutely had to shape the cake, but it still hadn't doubled. It rose negligibly in the 2 additional hours I had it in the bundt pan. The finished cake had a good flavor (kind of ferment-y) but it was very dense--I think that was a product of an insufficient rise.
For anyone who doesn't know, proofing the yeast just involves dissolving the yeast in some warm milk or water with sugar and waiting a few minutes for the mixture to start bubbling. I'm no expert but I think it would activate the yeast in this recipe & thus reduce the rising time.
messy K. December 1, 2015
I thought 1 dry cup of flour is 4.5 ounces. But your measuremebt has a lot more flour. Where did you get this measurement from?
alliejones November 3, 2015
This looks delicious. I'm wondering about the measurements-- isn't a cup of sugar 7 oz? Not sure how 2 2/3 C could be 14 oz. It'd help to know how you calculated and if the weights or volumes were the original.
Catherine L. November 2, 2015
holy shiza
TU November 1, 2015
I suspect there is a detail left out that a less seasoned baker like me missed. Shouldn't the milk be warmed, or at least room temp? And the eggs room temp as well. Otherwise it chills the whole mixture and doesn't kick the yeast into action.
I only realized this after mixing the batch and sitting it out overnight. By the morning, the cake had barely risen.
Laura L. October 31, 2015
I really like this idea - I've seen Yeasted cakes before but never such simple ones. I'm all in favour of simple but delicious cakes! I wonder, have you tried this bundt recipe with other flavours? Eg, chocolate or with 'bits' in like chocolate chip or fruit?
Regine October 29, 2015
This is great to know. Your explanation makes sense. Cant wait to try it. Thanks.
Regine October 29, 2015
Question! You wrote: Stir the batter to deflate it; pour the batter into the prepared pan; let the batter rise at room temperature again for 1 hour. What makes a yeast leavened cake or bread light is the rising of the dough. So when you ask to deflate batter, pour it into pan and then let it rise one more hour, don't you want batter to rise again to maximum potential? By that I mean, let the dough in the pan rise till it has at least doubled, or something of the sort. Depending on the temperature of the room, one hour of rising may not be sufficient. Just wondering. Looking forward to hearing from you. Also, what is the texture? Is it airy?
Erin J. October 29, 2015
Hi Regine, great question. In bread baking, there is a stage between bulk fermentation (when the dough rises just after mixing), and secondary fermentation (when it rises after shaping), where the dough is folded. This action has multiple purposes, but for one - it redistributes the active yeast and it's "food" (the starches it's consuming and turning into carbon dioxide, thus fermenting the dough)
The same is true in this cake recipe, stirring the batter will deflate it, but it will also redistribute the ingredients, giving the yeast in any given part of the batter "new food" to continue fermentation.

Unlike most bread recipes, this cake batter has a lot of added sugar, this sugar also serves as food for the yeast, and is even more easily consumed. Therefore, it doesn't need long to fully rise before being baked (the first, lengthy rise is primarily for flavor building, along with the fermentation that will leaven the cake). That being said, in the dead of winter, you may need to go up to 1 hour 15-30 minutes if it's especially chilly. The texture resembles a traditional pound cake!
Don't B. January 24, 2021
"redistributes the yeast"... sure, but it also deflates 12 hours worth of work by the yeast. This recipe needs a look over!