Golden Vanilla Pound Cake

Recipe by PJ Hamel

This pound cake is a rich, dark brown outside, with an ultra-fine, golden crumb. It mimics closely the original proportions that define pound cake: a pound each of sugar, eggs, butter (we use a combo of butter and cream cheese), and flour. If you like a dense, firm, loaf-shaped classic pound cake, then this one's for you. One non-traditional touch: the vanilla-sugar glaze brushed atop the cake towards the end of the baking time, which gives it a crackly-crunchy top crust.

10 mins
55 mins to 1 hr 15 mins
1 hr 25 mins
9" loaf cake
Golden Vanilla Pound Cake


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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" x 2 3/4" loaf pan, or a 12" x 4" x 4" tea loaf pan. To avoid overflow, be SURE to use the correct size pan!

  2. To make the cake: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, salt, sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well combined.

  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; the mixture may look slightly curdled/grainy. After you've added the final egg, beat at high speed for 3 minutes, then stir in the milk.

  4. Add the cake enhancer, then sprinkle in the flour gradually, with the mixer going at low speed. Mix just until combined. The batter will be smooth and thick, but still pourable. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

  5. To make the topping: Combine the sugar, vanilla, and water. Stir until the mixture is syrupy. At first it'll seem very stiff but will become "drizzle-able" as you stir. Set the topping aside.

  6. Set the cake on a baking sheet, for easiest handling and as a precaution against potential overflow (which shouldn't happen if you use the correct size pan). Bake it for 55 minutes (for either size pan).

  7. Remove the cake from the oven, and brush/drizzle with the sugar mixture. Return the cake to the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack. Insert a toothpick or paring knife into the center; it should come out clean. If you use an instant-read thermometer, the center should register about 200°F to 205°F. (The top 1/4" or so of the top crust may still be moist and sticky, but it shouldn't be batter-like.)

  8. After 5 minutes loosen the cake's edges and turn it out of the pan to cool completely on a rack.

  9. Cut into thick slices and serve warm with ice cream and berries, or hot fudge or caramel sauce. Alternatively, lightly butter individual 1"-thick slices of cake, and toast both sides on a stovetop or electric griddle or on a clean outdoor grill (both on low heat) until just a tiny bit crispy. Serve immediately, topped with ice cream and the garnishes of your choice.

  10. Storage information: Store wrapped at room temperature for two days; wrap well and freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Looking for a gluten-free version of this recipe? Find it here: Gluten-Free Vanilla Pound Cake.

  • You'll find bringing the butter and cream cheese to room temperature makes them easier to beat without lumps forming. And room-temperature eggs help keep the batter lump-free, too. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to bring these ingredients to room temperature, so plan ahead.

  • For a different look, bake the cake in a 9-cup tube or Bundt pan. You'll need to bake it a shorter amount of time than in the loaf pan, so start checking for doneness after about 45 minutes in the oven.