Pound cake is a tasty treat that lots of people love having with their families. It’s a delicious cake, but it’s actually quite a bit different than many standard types of cakes that you might be used to making.
If you’re just getting used to baking pound cakes, then you’ll likely learn that they’re significantly denser than most cakes. This cake has been named “pound cake” because many famous recipes call for you to use one pound of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.
This is the reason why the cake is so thick, and some people love how filling it can be. If you’re not used to baking the cake yourself, then you might be worried about seeing it crack on top.
Normally, having your cake crack on top would be a very bad thing, but pound cakes might be a bit different. Read on to learn why this happens.
It’s Normal for Pound Cakes to Crack on Top
Stop worrying because you didn’t actually do anything wrong when baking your pound cake. Or at least the fact that your pound cake cracked on top isn’t an indication that you made a mistake.
It’s totally normal for these cakes to crack on top like this. In fact, it’s probably more normal for a pound cake to crack on top than it would be for it not to crack.
This occurs simply because of how dense the cake is. With the batter being so dense, the outside of the cake is going to bake faster than the inside.
When this happens, it’s going to cause the batter on the inside of the cake to rise, and that’ll make the cracks form at the top of the cake. Seeing cracks in the center of the cake will be a normal occurrence when you’re following most pound cake recipes.
If you’re worried about the cracks, then you should just know that there isn’t anything wrong with the cracks being on top of the cake like this. They won’t harm your enjoyment of the cake in any way, and you don’t necessarily need to try to prevent the cracks from happening.
How to Get an Even Crack
Some people take extra steps to ensure that they get the pound cake to crack evenly on top. You might want the crack to go perfectly down the center of the pound cake, and you can encourage this to happen using butter.
What you have to do is place butter on top of the cake batter before you place it into the oven. Make a line of butter where you want the cake to crack and everything will turn out nicely.
The cake will crack open along the line of butter that you placed on top of the batter. This is a very easy way to have some type of control over how the pound cake cracks.
It’s also notable that you can do this using melted butter or solid butter. With solid butter, you’re just going to have to cut the butter very thin and lay it on top of the cake in a line.
Melted butter is easy to use as well, but not as easy as solid butter. You’ll want to dip a knife in the melted butter and then run that over the top of your cake batter.
Can Cracks Be Prevented?
So what if you’re really annoyed by these cracks at the top of your pound cake? Perhaps you just think they’re unsightly and you want to do something to prevent the cracks from appearing at the top.
Is there anything that can actually be done to stop them or do you just have to put up with them? There is something that you can do that should make your pound cake turn out with no cracks, but it involves using a different type of pan.
Typically, you would bake a pound cake in a loaf pan. When you bake them the normal way using these loaf pans, you’re almost surely going to see the cracks form at the top of the cake.
If you choose to bake your pound cake in a tube pan, then you’re going to get completely different results. Tube pans have holes in the center that will help the batter to be evenly distributed.
Essentially, a tube pan ensures that the pound cake bakes evenly, and this is going to keep the cracks from forming at the top. If you really dislike how pound cake looks when it has cracks on top, then using a tube pan is your best bet.
Your pound cake will be prettier and smoother if you choose to approach things in this way. It isn’t necessary to do this since the cracks don’t negatively impact the taste of the cake, but you can get a tube pan if you want to.
You don’t need to worry about cracks being on top of your pound cake. It’s completely normal for cracks to appear on top of them simply because of how dense those cakes are.
If you thought that you did something wrong or messed up the ingredients, then you should set your mind at ease. The vast majority of people who bake pound cakes have them crack on top like this.
These cracks aren’t going to negatively impact the taste of the cake in any way. The only downside of having the cracks on top will be related to the aesthetic appeal of the cake.
Some people might prefer to have their pound cakes look smooth on top. You can get this to happen if you choose to bake it in a different pan.
Most people bake pound cakes in loaf pans, but baking in a tube pan instead can keep the cake from cracking. Tube pans aren’t expensive, and they’re going to be able to give you the results that you’re looking for.
However, it’s important to remember that this only matters if the cracks bother you. They aren’t actually a bad thing, and most people choose to just accept that pound cakes are going to be cracked on the top because that’s just how those cakes are.
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.
Tuesday 26th of July 2022
I use a tube pan and I still get cracking. I’m only concerned about it because my teenager says he doesn’t like that but the taste is still very good😄
Wednesday 23rd of November 2022
@Kim, My tube pound cake cracks too. I make a cream cheese and rum lb cake and I have chopped pecans in the bottom and when the cake is cooled I flip it cracked side down with the pecans on top and that makes a great cake with my glaze.
Another method I heard was to set the oven temp to 200 then put the cake in a cold oven. After 30 mins turn it up to 250 then 20 mins later to 300, then 15 mins or so turn it to 325 and finish baking. This cooks the cake slowly and the outside is not over cooked and it prevents cracking,