Sour Cream Pound Cake

February 11, 2019
17 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Makes One 10-inch cake
Author Notes

My mom's sour cream pound cake has been about as much of a fixture in my life as she has. The "sour cream" part of the title might throw some for a loop at first, but in actuality this cake is one of the most moist, tender, and beautiful cakes I could imagine. It makes an appearance at just about every major holiday—and a few other non-celebratory times throughout the year—and many have come to look forward to it at family gatherings. (My Great-Aunt Ida calls it "crunch cake" because of the way the top gets crispy after baking.) —Aaron Hutcherson

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Mother's Signature Sour Cream Pound Cake (& Its Many Origin Stories). —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature (plus extra for greasing the pan)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting the pan)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Heat the oven to 325˚F. Butter and flour a 10-inch aluminum tube pan; set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer to low and add in the eggs two at a time, waiting until the eggs are fully incorporated before adding the next couple. Mix in the vanilla extract and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. Still on low speed, add in a third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then half of the sour cream, then another third of the dry ingredients, then the remaining sour cream, and followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until almost fully incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to make the last few strokes by hand and ensure there aren’t any hidden clumps of flour. (The batter will be very thick.)
  6. Evenly spread the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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  • Aaron Hutcherson
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20 Reviews

marfra March 20, 2022
Absolutely delicious recipe! Very forgiving as well. I always add a little bit of almond extract and lemon juice/zest (if I have it) in addition to the vanilla. Thank you Aaron/Aunt Ruby!
Sharona February 8, 2021
I wonder if low fat Greek yogurt work instead of the sour cream?
Aaron H. February 21, 2021
I've used Greek yogurt before and it works!
Christina C. March 24, 2022
Full fat greek yogurt?
LoriB July 18, 2020
Wonderful recipe! When using a Bundt pan for this recipe should a let it cook completely before removing from the pan?
Aaron H. July 19, 2020
I'd let it cool for about an hour before removing from the pan. Also, beware that a Bundt pan has a smaller capacity than a tube pan.
LoriB July 18, 2020
Wonderful recipe! If using a Bundt pan should I let it cool completely before removing from pan?
Andrea R. June 6, 2020
Amazing pound cake. Simple ingredients and directions. The cake is perfectly moist. The crust has just the right amount of crunch.
Mary S. February 27, 2020
This is almost the exact recipe I've baked since the early 90's from Southern Living. It uses only 1 cup butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 tsp almond extract, which I always omit. It's not only reliable and delicious, but it takes add-ins beautifully. Somehow, I don't think Aunt Ruby used kosher salt!
Laura November 21, 2019
I've searched for a recipe for pound cake that works for me for a long time, and finally found it! This one is great! I've made it several times as written, and loved it, but I'm now starting to think of add-ins to tailor it to the season...would this work if I add a cup or so of cranberries or something similar?
Aaron H. November 25, 2019
It would release extra moisture in the cake, but I *think* it should be fine. If you do give it a try, let me know how it works out!
Laura November 25, 2019
I made it yesterday for weekend guests with an added cup of fresh cranberries. It was pretty and yummy, with no noticeable difference in texture. A bit of orange glaze drizzled on top might have been nice!
Lori E. July 8, 2019
Aaron, how nice to find you here on the Food 52 site! I first came across your recipes on Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes site. Your Chicken & Rice Soup has become a mainstay for our family, especially when someone is sick. It's so easy and so hands-off, even if the cook (me) is feeling poorly, she can make it for herself with just a few trips up from the couch. Thanks for sharing your family's special dessert--I will try it soon!
Aaron H. July 10, 2019
Thanks so much for your kind words!
Judy March 21, 2019
Aaron, what size loaf pan did you use? Thank you.
Aaron H. April 23, 2019
I have a 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan, but a 9-by-5-inch pan should work, too.
FrugalCat February 12, 2019
I'd like to do this in a loaf pan or perhaps a muffin tin. Any ideas on how that would affect the timing?
vvn February 16, 2019
I halved the recipe and halved the baking time, which turned out really well!
Aaron H. February 18, 2019
Half the recipe fits perfectly into a loaf pan. I forget how long at takes. My suggestion would be to check it with a toothpick or cake tester after about an hour and then go from there.
Christina C. March 24, 2022
Any tips for making cupcakes with this recipe?