Salted Egg Yolk Pound Cake

March  4, 2020
9 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 48 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Makes 1 bundt
Author Notes

Salt-cured egg yolks—in all physical states—are ubiquitous in Asian cuisine. Cooks crumble the gold into seafood stir-fries (pla meuk phad kai kem); stuff orbs into bean-paste mooncakes (the moon-like yolk to be enjoyed—or, if you are like me, gouged out—during Mid-Autumn Festival); and inject it, in liquid form, into steamed buns (called lou sah bao, literally “leaking sand bun”—the diner must be so careful, so methodical, with their first bite).

Brined for about a month, salt-preserved eggs—typically sold whole, still in the shell—add a bit of umami gold to anything they touch. The brine penetrates the shell, turning the yolk neon-orange, to a texture that’s somehow both crumbly and oozy. For sake of expediency, I went with a dry cure, applying salt directly to yolks. The curing takes just a few days (curing eggs whole will take closer to 30 days) and, while these yolks emerge flat, they get beaten to smithereens anyway. Because the curing project requires some foresight, consider preserving a few extra yolks. Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, they’ll stay good for up to 2 weeks. You can grate cured yolks over salads, pastas, or amp up an aioli. If, however, you happen to be at or near an Asian grocery, you’ll find salt-preserved eggs right in the egg section; grab those and proceed right onto step 3.

Here, cured egg yolks provide a rich saltiness that heightens the sweetness—and deepens the savoriness—of pound cake. The sugar migrates pan-ward, creating a crisp, lacquered crust that yields to a tight crumb. Look out for stray bits of salty egg yolk; if you are like me, you’ll pick them out, and feed them to the person you love. The cake is sturdy enough for dunking into an afternoon milky tea, and elegant (but, you know, casual about it) enough for a dinner party.
Coral Lee

What You'll Need
  • Salted egg yolks:
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Cake!:
  • 2 1/2 cups (340 grams) white pastry flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (500 grams) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 salted egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 pound (454 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  1. Salted egg yolks:
  2. Line the bottom of a shallow airtight container with half of the salt. Make 4 wells using the back of a tablespoon measure, and carefully nestle in the 4 yolks. Gently cover the yolks with the remaining salt (though, you might not need all of it). Cover the container and let the yolks cure for 48 hours in the fridge.
  3. On the third day, brush the salt off the yolks—you can gently rinse them under cool water if the salt is clinging stubbornly—and discard the curing salt. Stored in an airtight container, salt-cured egg yolks will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks until you’re ready to use them.
  1. Cake!:
  2. Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease a bundt pan, and set aside. In a small bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, and salt with a fork.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar, eggs, and egg yolks. Whip on medium until thick and glossy, almost like a pale yellow meringue, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly stream in the hot butter. Crank the speed to medium-high and whip another 2 minutes, or until the butter is well-incorporated. (Some stray bits of salty egg yolk are A-OK.) Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in installments, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. As soon as all traces of flour are gone, stop mixing, and transfer batter to the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and bounces back when pressed lightly. Let cool slightly in the pan before unmolding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • h.wong
  • Jonathan Russell
    Jonathan Russell
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Coral Lee
    Coral Lee

12 Reviews

h.wong May 19, 2023
I made a half portion of this pound cake with just 2 of the salted egg yolks in a loaf pan yesterday and it's now an all time favorite recipe for me! The cake's flavor is a good balance between salty, buttery, savory, and eggy. The exterior of the cake is addictingly chewy. I subbed the pastry flour for AP flour + cornstarch as suggested by another reviewer and my cake still sunk in the middle but the texture is consistent throughout the cake so I don't mind. Goes perfectly with tea!

I ended up using the other 2 salted egg yolks in a shortbread recipe by Constellation Inspiration and they worked beautifully in that recipe as well.
mochi September 7, 2021
This pound cake was a sweet indulgence! I did not have pastry flour, but used 1 1/4 cup AP & 1 1/4 cup cake flour. I reduced the sugar to 2 cups. Instead of a bundt pan, I used a 9 x 5 loaf pan. I did not fill the batter all the way to the top. I had extra batter and pour it into a muffin tin. When finished baking, the middle sunk. The pound cake was not underbaked. Do you think I poured too much batter in the pan? Regardless, it tastes delicious and will use a Bundt Cake the next time. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Coral!
Coral L. September 14, 2021
Hi mochi! Apologies for my delay.

This is tricky - the sinking could have been due to a couple things (AP + cake flour does yield a flour that is quite a bit higher in protein content than just pastry flour, which could have altered the cake's structure -- Ana below reported having good success with a combo of AP + cornstarch which you might want to try if pastry flour is impossible to find!; the cake could also have collapsed due to what fellow F52ers so rightly pointed out below - over-aerating a batter can make a cake "pop"/fall in the oven).

But, I think sticking with a tube pan might be the strongest first test. This batter is quite rich + sweet, and could use all that extra support/structure that the inner cylinder provides to better grow in the oven. I'd say try that -- and aim to slightly cut your whipping time, so as to not over-aerate the batter -- and let me know how it goes!
Jonathan R. April 18, 2021
I salt-cured some duck egg yolks to make this with and the flavor was excellent. If you use a stand mixer though, be very careful not to beat too much air into the batter otherwise the cake will overflow in the oven.
rondicasmith May 11, 2020
This was so good! I was really intrigued by the salt cured egg yolks and they did not disappoint! I am wondering though, if you haven't any salt cured egg yolks, would you sub in 4 regular eggs or yolks? I have seen pound cake recipes that include upwards of 9 eggs, so just wondering if we think 8 eggs would work in this cake? Preferably I will have the salt cured yolks around when I need them! But today, I do not.
Coral L. May 11, 2020
Hi Rondica! Between those two options, I'd go with yolks over eggs. *But*, I also do think this cake needs the salt/umami from the cured yolks. If you sub in plain yolks, the cake is likely to be a bit cloyingly sweet. For a pound cake that isn't so reliant on the salted egg yolks, you could try this one:
rondicasmith May 11, 2020
Thanks so much! I will try this one and also get some yolks in salt for next time! Thank you for your quick response!
Ana March 12, 2020
This cake was delicious! I didn’t have pastry flour so I subbed 40g cornstarch plus 300g AP flour to make 340g. Other than that, I did exactly as the recipe directed. I will make this cake again, it was so addictive!
Eric K. March 12, 2020
Oh dang, really good tip Ana. Thanks. I will do the same tonight—was planning to make this cake but didn’t have pastry flour.
simonandrew89 March 5, 2020
Its looks yummy i will try it at home
Eric K. March 4, 2020
This cake ROCKS!!!!! So chewy, so good. Can't wait to make it.
Emma L. March 4, 2020
The only pound cake I want from now on. So fudgy!!!!