Make Ahead

Food Processor Pound Cake

May 25, 2018
19 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This recipe is adapted very slightly from the pound cake in "The Perfect Cake", published by America's Test Kitchen. When I reviewed the book for *The Wall Street Journal*, I was impressed by the simplicity of this can't-possibly-fail poundcake that's made with hot melted butter in a food processor. Genius, I say. It's perfectly good plain, or with the citrus variations from the original recipe, but you can party on by steeping spices in the hot butter, swapping some brown sugar for white sugar, browning the butter, swapping 25% of the cake flour for a flavorful whole grain (or pseudo-grain) flour, or even mixing and matching these variations. Why not play with your pound cake? —Alice Medrich

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Food Processor Pound Cake
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use fine sea salt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 16 tablespoons (225 grams) unsalted butter, melted and hot
  • 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) cake flour (bleached or unbleached—I used the latter)
  1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350° F (adjust for convection according to the instructions with your oven). Grease and flour a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, or line the bottom and all four sides with parchment. (You can use a 9 by 5 pan, but check for doneness 5 minutes early)
  2. Put the sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor and process for about 10 seconds until totally blended. With the processor running, add hot melted butter in a steady stream until incorporated. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Sift flour into the bowl in three additions, whisking just until most of the flour is blended after each addition. After the last addition whisk until just until there are no visible lumps or veins of flour (do not over whisk).
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean—with few crumbs clinging to it, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Slide a thin knife bade around the sides to detach the cake (or lift the parchment liner) and remove the cake to the rack to cool completely, about 2 hours, before serving. Cake may be wrapped and stored at room temperature for 3 days, or frozen for 1 month. Thaw at room temperature without unwrapping.
  7. Lemon or Orange: Grate the zest of two medium lemons or a large orange directly into the food processor and add 2 teaspoons lemon or orange juice, before adding the sugar etc.
  8. Toasted coriander with cardamom and cinnamon: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons ground toasted coriander seeds*, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds that have been finely crushed in a mortar (or not-to-finely-ground in a spice grinder) to the hot butter, cover and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Reheat butter if necessary before adding it (with the spices) to the batter as directed. *Toast whole coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat, shaking the pan, until then are golden brown and fragrant. Pour onto a dish to cool. Grind in spice grinder or crush finely in a mortar.
  9. Brown Butter: Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of water and an extra pinch of salt to the food processor with the sugar. Use hot browned butter in place of the hot melted butter.
  10. Brown Sugar (with or without nutmeg): Replace half of the sugar with dark brown sugar and add an extra pinch of salt. If desired add 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the hot butter, cover and let steep 10-15 minutes. Reheat the butter as necessary before using as directed.
  11. Buckwheat: Swap one quarter of the cake flour (6 tablespoons/42 grams) for an equal weight (42 grams/5 1/3 tablespoons) of buckwheat flour. Proceed as directed, adding the cake flour in two additions and the buckwheat flour last
  12. Vanilla saffron: Split a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the hot butter. Drop the pods into the butter as well. Add a scant 1/8 teaspoon crushed saffron threads. Cover and let steep 10-15 minutes. Remove the vanilla pods. Reheat the butter if necessary before using as directed.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Amanda Whalen
    Amanda Whalen
  • AniaSweets
  • Sham Nat
    Sham Nat
  • Franca
  • Jean
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

57 Reviews

MSteinhart March 17, 2023
I have been searching for the perfect pound cake recipe and this is it! Adding lemon and lemon zest enhanced an already amazing cake. So easy in the food processor A+ recipe. This is a keeper.
Kate's K. June 5, 2022
Delicious! Especially with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. I made my own cake flour and it turn out great. The cake has a fine texture with the top and sides a little crunchy. It took about 48 minutes in my oven using the loaf pan size recommended. I’ll make it again with citrus zest added.
Amanda W. January 23, 2021
This is a great recipe. I have been without my stand mixer for a month (tear) and just neeeeeeeded to bake a pound cake. This one was perfect--at once light and dense, quick and easy, and YUMMY. We tried lime, brown butter/peanut butter, and chocolate chip/crushed candy cane. All were PERFECT.
AniaSweets July 27, 2020
Hmmmm i made the brown butter variation.....very nice. Just had a piece with some Greek yogurt and honey gelato. Divine.
Sham N. April 22, 2020
Made this yesterday and loved it! Thank you for this easy recipe. It has a beautiful rich colour and taste. Just to confirm, for the orange variation, we add the zest and juice first then proceed with number 2 correct? Do we need to give the processor a go to mix the juice and zest first before proceeding with no. 2?
Jean April 23, 2020
No need to mix it before adding the sugar, etc.
Franca April 7, 2020
I just pulled mine out of the oven. I cut the sugar by 1/2 a cup and used brown sugar instead of white. Browned my butter, subbed the vanilla extract for caramel extract, instead of buckwheat as suggested, I used rye as that is what I had on hand, and upped the salt content. I am hoping it tastes like salted caramel in cake form :D. My kitchen smell divine! Can't wait to cut into it.
Jean August 9, 2019
Made this yesterday and was very pleased. Not at all too sweet. Used a 9*5 and it didn't crown evenly, so will try the smaller size next time. Easy to make and I suspect would freeze well.
tnypow March 19, 2019
Just made this today for the first time...WOW! So easy and so good too! And since I live alone, this is the perfect size...and when its gone, time to plan the next variation! :-)
Lorna G. December 17, 2018
What would happen I wonder if I used the orange variation and tossed in a cup or so of chopped fresh cranberries?
Alison August 26, 2018
I love pound cake and most loaf cakes, in general. This version was delicious and really easy--I admit I have never used my food processor for anything baking-related, let alone a cake, but I was pleasantly surprised. I used the brown sugar variation noted at the end of the recipe. My baking pan was 9.25 by 5, and it was done at around 50 minutes. Although I used a tad less sugar (probably closer to 1.125 cups total) and added a scant tablespoon of water to accommodate the high altitude of Denver, I did not find it too sweet. It rose very nicely, too.
Sanya A. August 17, 2018
Can confirm that this doesn't work out so well if you make it in a mixer :S Tasted good though.
squiddie February 12, 2020
Yes, can confirm as well. Does anyone know why or how I can compensate? My food processor is currently out of commission :(
Julia July 15, 2018
As it just so happens, for a few years now, Land O' Lakes has a recipe for Vanilla Pound Cake on their website, which uses melted butter. When the recipe was on their unsalted butter package, it didn't say gluten-free. I make it with King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour and it comes out just fine.
Natasha July 14, 2018
Has anyone tried making this cake with olive oil instead of butter?
Beth T. July 14, 2018
I too was skeptical about the method. Loving poundcake, however, I decided to give it a go. Add to the odd way of putting this together, my oven decided to turn off in the middle of baking. By the time the timer went off, the oven was darn-near cold. I turned it back on and hoped for the best. You know what? It's STILL delicious. The crumb is lovely. It's not overly sweet and I can think of 1000 things to do with it... if only it weren't gone.
t July 14, 2018
I found this to be too sweet with 1 1/4 cup of sugar. Do not use this amount; use only 1/4 of sugar. Terribly sweet if you follow these instructions.
Tiffany July 14, 2018
Has anyone tried adding peaches to this recipe...if so...pls share adjustments
LinBar19 January 26, 2022
I have not tried peaches, but have done maraschino cherries. The batter turned out to be too runny the first time and all the cherries sank to the bottom of the cake. Also I used the “convection” bake setting, and only half of the cake crowned.
This time I added more flour, and am using the regular bake setting for 50 minutes. Will see if that makes a difference. Either way it is a lovely pound cake!
burns W. July 14, 2018
Why is the baking soda added to the wet mix as opposed to the flour?
Lisa B. July 14, 2018
Probably to make the recipe different than the one it was adapted from. The original has the flour, baking powder and salt mixed together. Just a guess.
Alice M. July 14, 2018
It saves a step! And it works just fine...
Kate V. July 13, 2018
Thanks to the comments below, I made my own cake flour and used half butter/half coconut oil since that was on hand. I got lazy and didn’t use my food processor- just wisked to aerate the butter mixture and cut down on dishes. This was my first pound cake!
Arlene T. July 13, 2018
Can this be made with a Kitchen Aid instead of a food processor?
Alice M. July 14, 2018
I did not get a great result using a mixer instead of the processor.
Susan July 13, 2018
I can't wait to try this and add some Lavender!