If you’ve ever baked a pound cake, you might have been disappointed when it came out flat from the oven. While the former is typically denser than other cakes, it still should rise when baked.
So, how do you make a pound cake rise higher? Continue reading this article to learn about five tips that’ll help you achieve a light, fluffy cake!
Yes! A pound cake should rise during baking. However, you shouldn’t expect the batter to hit the oven’s ceiling. Pound cakes are generally denser than other delicacies, such as sponge or angel food cakes.
That’s because traditional recipes use an equal ratio of all ingredients and don’t contain leavening agents. The batter depends on the air introduced when beating the eggs and butter to rise.
Even for recipes with some tweaks, the pound cake’s batter will still contain a hefty amount of fat. The former can weigh the mixture down, resulting in a slightly dense, moist inside, which is the conventional texture of pound cakes.
While a pound cake does rise when baked, it’s not supposed to increase much. The batter might rise a couple of inches, but don’t expect it to double.
That said, several factors, such as the ingredients, mixing technique, and baking conditions, influence the cake’s final height.
For instance, an air-filled batter due to butter softening and the use of leavening agents would rise higher than a quickly mixed cake.
However, over-creaming the butter will cause it to trap more air. While that sounds great, it can be counterproductive since all the extra air will deflate when baked, resulting in a heavy cake.
Yes! You can make a pound cake with self-rising flour; however, only if the recipe calls for it.
As mentioned earlier, a traditional pound cake batter doesn’t contain leavening chemicals. In that case, you can substitute all-purpose flour with self-rising flour.
Keep in mind the cake texture will vary slightly because of the added leavening agents in the latter. Additionally, self-rising flour contains salt, as well. So, it might alter the taste.
Still, if that’s what you have on hand, you can make a pound cake with self-rising flour.
However, don’t substitute all-purpose flour with the latter if the recipe contains baking powder or baking soda!
Adding an excessive amount of leavening agents results in a lumpy, flat cake. The gas rises quickly and escapes the batter before the cake sets in the oven.
Not to mention, those chemicals add a sour, metallic taste that’s almost inedible, which is the opposite of how you want your pound cake to taste.
Three primary reasons might cause your pound cake not to rise, regardless of the recipe you follow. Those include:
Baking is like science; it requires precise measurements. Adding too much fat or sugar can weigh down the batter.
The latter helps slow gluten development, a flour protein. Consequently, it results in a fluffy, tender texture.
However, too much sugar weakens the protein bonds and eventually causes the cake to lose its structure and not rise.
Likewise, too much baking powder will cause your cake to collapse, resulting in a flat pound cake.
As mentioned earlier, incorporating too much air from overmixing will only cause it to escape the batter before the cake sets in the oven.
As a result, the cake will rise at the beginning but then flatten. Not to mention, it might come off as tough and gummy due to gluten formation.
Undermixing, on the other hand, leads to little air incorporation. Additionally, if the recipe you follow includes leavening agents, not properly mixing the batter can cause an uneven distribution of the chemicals, resulting in a cake that doesn’t rise.
Hitting the oven’s temperature is crucial for the success of your pound cake. Incorrect settings can throw all your hard work away and cause the cake not to rise.
If the oven is not hot enough, the air bubbles might not form, and the batter will not properly cook.
Conversely, a high oven temperature will cause the bubbles to form quickly and escape. So your cake will rise but fall in the center, resulting in a gummy texture.
To avoid the hassle, make sure to preheat the oven and follow the cooking time of the recipe.
Additionally, avoid checking on the cake while it bakes, as opening the oven door introduces cold air and lowers the temperature. Consequently, it causes the batter to collapse.
Here’s how to make a pound cake rise higher:
Although they’re chemicals, leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda expire. Environmental factors, like moisture and air, can react with the former, causing carbon dioxide gas to escape.
For that reason, you should test if the agents are still working before adding them to the batter. Here’s what you need to do:
- Mix one teaspoon of baking powder with two tablespoons of water in a cup.
- Use two tablespoons of vinegar for the baking soda.
- Check for bubble formation immediately after adding the chemical leavening agents to determine if they’re still fresh.
Creaming the butter is crucial when making a pound cake since a conventional recipe doesn’t include baking powder.
All the fluffiness comes from the butter, which traps air during the mixing process. As you bake the batter, the incorporated air expands and causes the batter to rise.
Here’s how to cream the butter with the sugar properly:
- Take the butter sticks out of the fridge and let them reach room temperature to soften.
- In a bowl, add the softened butter.
- Set the hand or stand mixer speed at medium—a high speed will knock the air out of the batter.
- Mix for 3-7 minutes until the butter forms a creamy mixture.
- Add the sugar gradually and continue mixing for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar.
Like the sugar, adding all the eggs immediately to the creamed butter can weigh down the batter and cause a flat cake.
To avoid that issue, simply beat the eggs in a bowl and add the liquid slowly to the sugar-butter mixture. Alternatively, you can add one egg at a time and mix it well before adding another.
Sifting the flour is another excellent trick to help you achieve a fluffy pound cake. The former removes lumps, creating an even batter, and ensures accurate measurements. Plus, the sifting incorporates air into the mixture, which helps make the cake rise in the oven.
All your hard work can go in vain if you don’t use the right pan size. A large tray means the batter has a lot of surface area to cover. So, instead of rising, the batter will spread out.
That’s why you should make sure to follow the pan’s size in the recipe or choose a similar dimension.
As you can see, figuring out how to make a pound cake rise higher is pretty straightforward.
You simply need to use fresh leavening agents, cream the butter and sugar properly, and add the eggs gradually. Sifting the flour and picking the correct pan size also ensure your cake comes out fluffy.
By following these simple tips, you can bake a light, delicious pound cake that’s sure to impress your friends and family!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.