Pound cakes are among the most popular types of pastries out there. This rich, smooth cake has a classic flavor and moist texture that many people simply adore.
In most cases, pound cakes are presented as slices that look similar to bread loaf, so here’s a question that many of us wonder while slicing it: is pound cake considered a bread?
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the complete and definitive answer to this question as well as the reasons that support it. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
The short and simple answer to this question is no, although the full answer might be not as straightforward as that, so here’s what this answer is based on.
For any baked item to qualify as bread, it needs to have a few main ingredients, which are flour, water, a dash of salt, and yeast as a leavening agent.
Yeast is a vital ingredient in bread recipes because it’s responsible for making the bread airy and fluffy.
Of course, different types of bread might include other essential ingredients, such as whole eggs and sweetening agents, but I’m talking about classic bread here.
On the other hand, cakes also use rising agents, but unlike bread, they typically rely on chemical ones, which are baking soda and baking powder.
One thing to know here is that these two terms aren’t interchangeable, as baking powder is a combination of baking soda (pure sodium bicarbonate) and cream of tartar.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t use bread flour to make pound cake. This is because bread flour typically has a high protein content of about 12 to 14 percent.
The reason behind this relatively high protein content is to give the bread a chewy/gummy, filling texture, which serves its purpose quite well, as it’s necessary for gluten formation.
On the other hand, pound cakes are usually made with all-purpose flour, which has a fairly lower protein content of around 10 to 12 percent.
This results in the soft, moist, and noticeably tender texture that is characteristic of most cakes and muffins, including pound cakes.
Although it’s not a good idea to bake a pound cake with bread flour, sometimes, it can be all you have in your pantry and you have no time to go to the grocery store to get all-purpose flour.
As you might’ve expected, the end result in that situation will be a fairly dense and tough version of pound cake that won’t be as appealing as the original one.
Of course, you can try to compensate for the lack of moisture here by adding more milk to your cake batter or using slightly less flour, but the end result will still be fairly different from what a classic pound cake is.
That being said, the slight change in texture and flavor is, after all, subject to personal preferences and what you’re trying to achieve.
In other words, if you’re willing to try out this experiment, you might end up with something that you find delicious and versatile.
Although the exact origins of the classic recipe aren’t clear, there’s an obvious reason why pound cakes earned this unique name.
Pound cakes are called so simply because the original cake recipe included the following main ingredients:
- One pound of flour
- One pound of sugar
- One pound of butter
- One pound of eggs (around 9 eggs)
Of course, today’s classic recipe for pound cake has evolved, and the cake doesn’t use exactly one pound of each of those ingredients. However, the catchy name managed to stick around.
This concludes today’s article about pound cakes and whether they’re considered bread. As you can see, the short and simple answer to this question is no, although some people might still argue that it qualifies as quick bread.
Simply put, no matter what you call it, pound cake will always be a remarkably delicious sweet treat that everyone can enjoy, whether alone with a huge variety of toppings and side dishes!
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.