Food Processor Pound Cake

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Serves: 8
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hrs


  • 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)
In This Recipe


  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.

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Reviews (46) Questions (1)

46 Reviews

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.
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
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.
Author Comment
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?
Author Comment
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!
Jenni July 13, 2018
Would it be possible to make this in a gluten free version?
Author Comment
Alice M. July 14, 2018
Instead of trying to reinvent a recipe, why not use a gf recipe that is already well tested and proven to work! I can recommend any of the butter cakes from my book "Gluten Free Flavor Flours"
Jenni July 14, 2018
Thank you Alice! Will do!
Simone K. July 13, 2018
I love adding basil to my batter, end result is an incredibly fragrant and flavourful cake! One simple ingredient that takes it to whole another level.
Anthony B. July 13, 2018
Simone, did you just add fresh basil to the food processor? Sounds terrific--how much--a handful?
Simone K. July 13, 2018
Yup, just roughly chop up a handful of fresh basil and toss them in, so good!
Anthony B. July 13, 2018
Got it, will try! Thanks!!
Bebewatson July 13, 2018
What about subbing 1/4c cocoa powder for 1/4c flour?
Author Comment
Alice M. July 14, 2018
they are not equivalent! The texture will be changed, sugar may need adjusting etc. I can't guarantee this will be good, but if I were experimenting I would start by cutting 2 T flour and then adding 1/4 cup cocoa, plus at least 2 T sugar....but again, that would just be a starting point. Good luck!
Lisa B. July 13, 2018
While this is not a new recipe from ATK (I've had this version for years from Cook's Illustrated), I'm excited to try Alice's variations. They sound fantastic!
Lorraine F. July 9, 2018
This food processor method makes a mess of the cake batter in the bowl. I find it SO much easier to use the PASTE method either with a hand or stand mixer. The butter does not have to be at room temperature or creamed to aerate. One bowl is all you need and the batter is easier to remove with a rubber spatula. See my winning pound cake made using this paste technique with this link on UTUBE:
harrisson August 21, 2018
Hmmmmm.... seems to be very poor manners to promote yourself and product on someone else's post.....this is not a new method but just her version.
Danuta G. July 9, 2018
Made it this morning....and it's gone! Hubby and son devoured it...although I do admit to one or two ladylike slices!! Absolutely delicious...loved that buttery taste. My variation: added a swirl of homemade pineapple/pear/ginger jam which dispersed itself throughout and added a lovely crunch to the base and sides of the loaf. Will be making this again! Thank you, Alice, for sharing this recipe!
Anthony B. July 7, 2018
As another food personality would say, easy peasy—and amazingly good. Made with lemon zest, served with a dollop of yogurt and raspberries—wow.