Who doesn’t love a freshly baked pound cake? The answer is no one!
Throughout my time in the kitchen, I’ve learned plenty of pound cake tips and hacks that help me to consistently bake pound cakes that are as close as you can get to perfect.
These tips include using ingredients at room temperature, using the right type of sugar, using high-quality ingredients, and baking at a lower temperature when using a Bundt pan. Ensuring that the cake is fully baked using the toothpick test is also a great idea.
Read on to learn more about handy tips and tricks you can use to elevate your pound cake-baking skills. I’ve also included nifty hacks to apply when using boxed pound cake mix.
Over the years, I’ve made too many pound cakes to count. Some of them have turned out amazing, and others, not so much.
Through my experience, these are some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned to make sure that my pound cakes are always in tip-top form:
One of the keys to baking pound cakes is knowing the right type to use and how much to use.
When you do so, you’ll see a significant improvement in your pound cake’s texture.
The types of sugar you have to choose from are brown sugar and granulated sugar. When you use the latter, it leads to a more firm and dense pound cake. As a result of this increased firmness, your cake is softer, more moist, and more chewy.
Whether you’re making a pound cake or any other baked goods, the rule of thumb is to always use ingredients that are at room temperature.
This is especially true for ingredients like butter, milk, and eggs.
Having the butter at room temperature allows it to emulsify more effectively when you’re creaming it with sugar. On the other hand, using cold milk or eggs can halt the butter’s emulsification.
Therefore, I like to plan ahead and take my butter, eggs, and milk out of the fridge early enough before I start baking so they have time to reach an ideal temperature.
Another factor to consider is the quality of the ingredients you use.
Sure, store-brand ingredients save you some money, but they can also lead to subpar results when you use them for your pound cake recipe.
For example, store-brand sugar is more finely ground than its name-brand counterpart. As a result, this means more sugar per cup, which adds unnecessary weight to the batter and causes the cake to not rise properly.
Additionally, store-brand butter and flour contain more liquid fat and hard wheat respectively. In turn, they make the batter heavier and stunt your pound cake’s rising process.
Due to their high dairy content, pound cakes take longer to bake than other cake types. As a result, you should bake pound cakes at lower temperatures when using certain pan types.
When you use a loaf pan, you should bake your cake at 350℉. However, you should lower the temperature to 325℉ when using a Bundt pan.
In both cases, your cake should take around an hour to bake fully.
It sucks when you take your pound cake out of the oven only to realize that it’s undercooked in the center. Trust me, I know.
So let me tell you exactly how you can avoid going through this experience.
The easiest way to make sure your pound cake is evenly baked all the way through is to use the toothpick test.
While your cake is still in the oven, simply stick a toothpick or a long wooden pick into its center. If the toothpick comes out clean, then your cake has baked fully and it’s time to take it out.
When using the toothpick test, one trick to keep in mind is to avoid the middle crack. I say this because this part of your cake can mislead you with its moistness and lead you to believe that the cake isn’t fully baked yet.
When you’re short on time, you may resort to using boxed cake mix as the base ingredient for your pound cake batter.
Here are some ways you can make the result look and taste like a homemade one:
The instructions on the box of most cake mixes tell you to add oil for increased moisture and fat in your cake.
I prefer to use melted butter instead. It achieves the same objective as canola or vegetable oil while adding a buttery twist of flavor to your cake at the same time.
If you’re wondering about the substitution ratio to use, I recommend adding the same amount of melted unsalted butter as you would have with oil.
The main issue with boxed cake mixes is that they lack the individuality and flavor of their homemade alternatives. This is why you should add a layer of deliciousness to your cake with some filling or a frosting.
To make some chocolate filling for your cake, simply stir together ½ a cup of chopped pecans, a cup of mini chocolate chips, and ½ a cup of brown sugar.
Next, pour half your cake batter into the baking pan, and apply the filling over it. Finally, pour the rest of the batter on top of the filling.
As for the frosting, you can either go for canned frosting from the grocery store, or you can make your own frosting at home using one of the many quick, easy recipes out there.
Another problem with boxed cake mix is that it leads to your pound cake having a loose and airy structure.
However, there’s an easy fix to work around this. It involves adding a ¼ cup of flour or half a box of instant pudding mix to your cake batter. Doing so gives your cake’s texture more density and firmness.
Additionally, it makes your cake less likely to fall apart during baking.
You should also consider lining the bottom of your pan with nuts or coconut before you pour the cake batter in. These additions add great crunch and flavor to your cake.
Most boxed cake mixes instruct you to add two or three eggs. I recommend adding one more and let me tell you why.
Pound cakes made using cake mixes are susceptible to overbaking and rapidly drying out during their time in the oven. Adding that extra egg goes a long way in adding some fat and moisture to your cake.
The result is a softer and fluffier pound cake for your tastebuds to savor and enjoy.
Although bakeries typically claim that they bake all their products from scratch, that isn’t true in some cases. Some bakeries use boxed cake mix just like what you would buy at the grocery store as their base ingredient for pound cakes.
A pound cake may be undercooked at its center for several reasons.
They include using an incorrect baking temperature. I recommend baking pound cakes in ovens preheated to 350℉.
Your pound cake may also be raw at the center because you placed it wrong in the oven. You should always bake pound cakes on the middle rack to ensure optimum heat distribution.
Finally, using the wrong pan type or color can lead to undercooked pound cakes.
I recommend covering the cake pan in foil and putting it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Use the toothpick test to check the cake every five minutes.
Take care when covering the pan with foil. The pan is likely to be super hot and may give you a burn.
Pound cakes are a staple in virtually every household, and some people know how to make them better than others.
The difference in quality is often due to knowledge of pound cake tips and hacks. They include things like choosing the right type of sugar to use, baking the cake at the right temperature, and making sure the ingredients are at room temperature before you get to work.
For those who use a boxed cake mix, using melted butter instead of oil to add moisture and adding instant pudding mix to improve texture are excellent ideas.
Now it’s time to put these tricks to use and bake your best pound cake yet!
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.