Pound cakes are known for their rich, buttery taste and dense texture. If you want to elevate a plain pound cake, there are several ingredients and flavors you can incorporate.
Whether you want to give your pound cake a healthy touch or add unique food items to enhance the taste and texture, the possibilities are endless.
For example, some add vanilla extract or lemon zest to a traditional pound cake recipe to give depth.
You can also use fresh fruit slices, nuts, melted chocolate, and more! When it comes to toppings, you can experiment with whipped cream, icing, and some frostings you can use with any other cake.
Here are some of the most popular pound cake add-ins and some recipes worth trying.
There are countless ways to improve a basic pound cake; you can experiment with spices and other ingredients you can usually find in your pantry.
For example, you can use cinnamon to give pound cakes an appetizing aroma and a tangy flavor. You can also use extracts, natural flavorings, and even brewed coffee.
Chocolate is another timeless pound cake add-in. You can use it to make chocolate marble pound cake that’s delicious and features interesting swirly patterns.
If you’re more on the healthy side, you can make keto pound cake by swapping traditional ingredients like all-purpose flour with almond flour.
You can incorporate fruits, berries, jam, and nuts into the cake too.
Add depth and unique flavor to your pound cake by adding common spices you use in everyday dishes.
Not only will these spices elevate your pound cake’s taste, but they’ll also give your cake an irresistible aroma.
Here are spice add-ins you can put in your pound cake batter:
This popular spice has a peppery and piney flavor, which is why it’s commonly used for curry dishes and pastries.
For pound cakes, you can add a teaspoon of ground cardamom to give it a subtle spice and exotic hint. Cardamom’s spice compliments well with the buttery taste of the pound cake.
When making your pound cake batter, mix cardamom with the dry ingredients and carry on with your recipe’s instructions per usual.
This spice will give your pound cake a familiar, comfortable taste. Plus, it enhances the sweetness of the cake.
Add a pinch to your usual recipe, and you’ll never want your pound cake without cinnamon again. You can also incorporate it as a cinnamon sugar topping or swirls.
Adding nutmeg to your pound cake will give it a sweet hint. Mix a teaspoon of nutmeg to the dry ingredients, and proceed with your recipe as usual.
You can also add a little vanilla extract, as it compliments the tanginess of nutmeg. Voila! You’ve transformed a typical pound cake recipe into a hearty pastry.
Here are other flavor enhancers you can use to elevate your pound cake:
Vanilla extract is the classic pound cake add-in that gives richness and depth to the cake.
While you can’t entirely taste vanilla, it enhances all the other flavors in your cake, so you surely won’t skip this on your next baking session.
A few drops or around ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract will do the trick.
Grab your citrus zester and grate your lemon or oranges to get a nice zest that’ll infuse a citrus taste into your pound cake.
At the same time, don’t forget to remove the wax coating and only zest the yellow part of the lemon skin.
If you feel a little extra, add some lemon juice and transform it into a lemon pound cake. Lemon pound cake usually goes well with a dash of sour cream that compliments the citrus flavor.
Give your pound cake a nutty hint with almond extract—a good substitute for vanilla.
Almond extract has a stronger flavor profile and pairs well with chocolate or nuts add-ins.
Feel free to be creative and incorporate your favorite food items as pound cake toppings. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Cream cheese frosting
- Whipped cream
- Melted white chocolate
- Mint leaves
- Chocolate chips or chocolate syrup
Here’s a list of delicious nuts you can incorporate into your pound cake recipe:
Coffee and chocolate are the most common flavor add-ins for pound cakes. Learn to make them with our easy-to-follow recipe.
Your favorite beverage in a pastry? Yes, please!
A coffee pound cake is usually moist with just the right blend of bittersweet. Not to mention that the irresistible aroma it infuses on the cake is mouthwatering.
Thankfully, making coffee-flavored pound cake is easy too!
Make coffee-flavored pound cake in eight easy steps:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease the pan and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt) and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugar. Whisk at medium speed.
- Add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time. Mix properly.
- Alternatively pour the flour mixture and one cup of brewed coffee.
- After combining all ingredients, pour them into a loaf or tube pan.
- Pop the cake in the oven and bake for up to one and one-half hours.
Chocolate’s got to be the most popular pound cake flavor. It’s a versatile ingredient that’ll surely give a sweet but hearty kick to your cake. Plus, it adds an appetizing dark brown hue to your cake.
You can melt chocolate and glaze it on your pound cake or top it with chocolate chips or chunks. You can also make chocolate marble pound cake.
Follow these steps to make marble chocolate pound cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease the baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix all dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, etc.) in a bowl.
- In a different bowl, mix melted butter and melted chocolate (or cocoa powder.) Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix softened butter and sugar. Whisk under medium speed.
- Gradually add the eggs and dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.
- Take half part of the batter and mix it with the chocolate or cocoa mixture. Set aside.
- Spread about half of the plain batter in the pan and smooth.
- Layer the chocolate batter on top.
- Add the remaining plain batter. Use a sharp tool or bread knife to make swirls in the batter.
- Bake for about one hour and 20 minutes.
You can incorporate fresh strawberries, mixed berries, peach slices, and even dried fruit to upgrade your pound cake.
As topping or garnish, sliced bananas or fresh berries drizzled with honey make a delicious pound cake. You can also add cream or yogurt on the side for aesthetics and additional flavor.
If you want your pound cake soft and less compact, you may add baking powder to your recipe to make the batter rise.
You can also put whipped egg yolks, buttercream, cream cheese, whole milk, and sour cream to achieve a soft and fluffy pound cake texture.
Pound cakes are hearty comfort food that’s versatile and goes well with any add-ins. You can use spices, nuts, fruit slices, and even extracts to give your plain pound cake a hint of flavor.
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.