After taking your pound cake out of the oven, letting it rest for a few moments, and cutting a slice out, you notice something off. The cake seems airier than usual.
If you’re wondering, “Why is my pound cake spongy?” Well, it could come from various reasons.
It might come from an ingredient addition like buttermilk or integrating different techniques like sifting.
Either way, a spongy pound cake isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re not a fan of the signature dense texture.
Newer pound cake recipes call for different procedures and ingredients that make it moister and spongier. Stick around to learn more about them below.
There’s a difference between pound and sponge cakes. Pound cakes have a denser texture. The heaviness comes from the butter addition.
Meanwhile, sponge cakes are light and fluffy. Its airiness comes from the beaten eggs, which oxygenate the batter.
In turn, pound cakes aren’t necessarily supposed to be spongy, more so heavy, but not dry.
Newer variations add more hydrating ingredients like sour cream to make it more appealing.
Nevertheless, the original recipe calls for the basic ingredients, butter, eggs, flour, and sugar, making it denser.
Your pound cake may turn out spongy for multiple reasons. It could be a change in the classic ingredients or procedure.
Whether you use buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt, your pound cake is bound to become a bit softer and spongier.
These ingredients add moisture, which is ideal if you’re not a fan of the original dense texture of a pound cake.
That said, the extra acid from the components breaks down the gluten in the flour, making the cake softer.
Most pound cake recipes call for all-purpose flour. If you substitute it for cake flour, you’ll get a spongier result.
The cornstarch mixed in the cake flour decomposes the solid proteins in the flour. In turn, it creates a chewier baked texture.
Sifting the dry ingredients incorporates air into your batter. It’s effective at creating a spongier bite.
Plus, sifting breaks down any lumps in your flour. Subsequently, it’s easier to mix the batter, and you get a more accurate measurement.
Going overboard with your eggs can make your cake gummy, spongy, or dense. Eggs act as emulsifiers and leavening agents.
The fat in the yolks helps meld the batter’s ingredients together. The proteins in the white provide structure. Overall, if your pound cake has too much egg yolk, it can turn spongy.
If you beat the sugar and butter to create a creamy consistency, your pound cake will turn out spongier.
As the butter gets mixed, it traps air and becomes fluffier in texture. Once your cake bakes, the air expands the batter, creating an airy result.
Pound cakes primarily rely on physical leavening to make the cake rise. In other words, the mixing integrates air into the batter, giving it more structure as it bakes.
That said, if you add a leavening agent like baking soda or powder, your pound cake can turn spongy.
Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and tartaric acid. When exposed to water, these two components react and produce carbon dioxide gas.
The gas bubbles in the batter and creates a fluffier texture after being baked.
Folding your flour into the whipped batter allows the creamed butter, sugar, and egg mixture to keep its aerated texture.
Adding the dry ingredient gradually as you fold it in will retain the spongy result. Otherwise, intensely mixing the batter will push out the trapped air, leaving you with a denser pound cake.
Now, if you want the classic dense texture of a pound cake, here are a few tips to avoid sponginess.
Incorporating pudding mix into your pound cake batter will not only make it denser but moister as well.
Plus, the best part is that you get to choose between multiple flavors, such as chocolate or strawberry.
Over-mixing the batter adds more air pockets to it. In turn, you’ll get a spongier pound cake out of the oven.
Subsequently, you’ll only want to mix until the dry and wet ingredients are well-melded together.
Sponge cakes tend to add egg yolks, and beat the egg whites, forming a foam. That is then folded slowly into the mixture.
You can ditch the foaming process and keep the egg whites as is. Protein from extra egg whites can add more structure and density to your pound cake.
Overmixing the pound cake batter can trigger too much gluten production from the flour. In turn, your cake will turn out doughier than usual.
Pound cakes are usually dense but not to the point where they become dry and crumbly. They have a more velvety crumb texture.
Your cake could be heavy or dense from adding too little leavening agent like baking powder. Additionally, you may have added too many eggs to your batter.
Pound cakes are originally made with a pound of each ingredient, including eggs, butter, sugar, and flour. Nonetheless, bakers have come a long way and retired this recipe.
Nowadays, pound cakes have a moister and spongier texture. They’re more delectable since they include more fat-rich ingredients like buttermilk and yogurt.
As someone who prefers the denser bite, you’ll likely want to keep the original recipe. On top of that, avoid overmixing the batter.
For extra richness and stability, you can add pudding mix and more eggs. The baked result will offer a heavy but scrumptious pound cake.
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.