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Nov 20, 2022

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake

This vanilla-bean pound cake is a buttery and dense cake made with the traditional 1-1-1-1 ratio (usually a pound each) of flour, to eggs, to butter, to sugar. That's where pound cake got its name! 

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake Serving on a plate.


A pound cake is the perfect base for berries, ice cream, whipped cream, or any combination. It's a simple and plain cake. 

In fact, from what I understand, the original version doesn't include salt or chemical leavening such as baking powder or baking soda. 

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake in a loaf pan.

This particular version, from the amazing book, Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoë François, does include a little bit of salt, but stays true to the original pound cake formula by not including any chemical leavening. 

Instead, the recipe relies on the mixing process of the butter and sugar to add air to the batter, along with the slow addition of the eggs. 

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake Slices.

In fact, it takes about five minutes to add the eggs to make sure that the mixture doesn't "break."

Tips for Making Pound Cake:

While you want the ingredients to be room temperature, the ingredients should be no warmer than 70 degrees F. The butter, especially, should be soft, but not at all melty. If you let it get too warm, you'll have a harder time whipping air into the butter and sugar mixture. 

Plus, you need the water that is in the butter to create steam to help the cake rise. If the butter is too warm, you will lose that water. 

Don't skimp on the time it takes to cream the butter and the sugar. Take the full five minutes called for in the recipe. The mixture should be very fluffy and almost white in color. 

Note: If you'd still like to include baking powder to lighten up this cake a bit, whisk a teaspoon in with the flour before adding it to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture. 

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake crumb with icing.

This version of pound cake calls for powdered sugar rather than granulated sugar. While Zoë doesn't say why, I imagine it might have something to do with the addition of cornstarch in American powdered sugar. 

The cornstarch lightens up all purpose flour, and is often an ingredient you might use to mix with all purpose flour to make cake flour. 

Perhaps she calls for it so that the flour won't develop too much gluten. 

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake with three vanilla extracts.

This recipe also calls for a tablespoon of vanilla extract plus the seeds from a vanilla bean. 

If you don't have a vanilla bean on hand (plus, they can be expensive), and you still want to see the flecks of vanilla seeds in the cake, you can use a combination of vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste, or a hybrid of both. Just use a tablespoon of the extract and a teaspoon of the paste. 

Regarding the eggs in this recipe: Large eggs are usually about 50 grams, so you will need about 4 1/2 eggs. You can add the first four eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture. For the final egg, whisk it, and then add 1/2 by weight. 

Pound Cake Serving Suggestions: 

I topped this cake with a powdered sugar and heavy cream icing (and added a few white non pareils for fun on top). If you'd like to make it, just whisk together 120 grams of sifted powdered sugar with 4 tablespoons of heavy cream.

Just drizzle it over the top of the cake. 

You can also serve the cake plain or infused with a simple syrup. 

You can use plain slices of this cake for berry shortcake or a berry trifle. You can also toast slices or use them layered in a sundae or other or ice cream dessert. 

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake on a serving platter.

This cake is part of the Cake Slice Bakers monthly bake. 

Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoē François. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Cake Slice Bakers Logo

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the links below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

Zoe bakes cakes book cover.

This year, the book is  - Zoë Bakes Cakes - and our choices for November 2022 were ~

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake

Grandma Ellen's Trinidad Rum Cake

Mod Yule Log

For this cake, I halved the recipe to make one a one-pound loaf. If you'd like to make the cake in a bundt pan, or make a cake to keep and a cake to give away, double the recipe. 

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake on a plate.

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake
Yield: 16 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 1 H & 10 MTotal time: 1 H & 30 M
This vanilla-bean pound cake is a buttery and dense cake made with the traditional 1-1-1-1 ratio (usually a pound each) of flour, to eggs, to butter, to sugar. That's where pound cake got its name!


  • 227 grams (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 227 grams confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Scraped seeds from one vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
  • 227 grams (4 1/2 large) eggs, room temperature
  • 227 grams (8 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Heat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8 inch by 4 inch loaf pan with spray oil, line it with parchment paper with some of the paper overhanging the edges, and spray the parchment with oil.
  2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes on medium high, until creamy and fluffy.
  3. Add the sugar to the bowl and pulse until the sugar is just incorporated. Then beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the vanilla and vanilla seeds and mix.
  5. Switch the speed to medium low and mix in the eggs, one at a time, until each is fully incorporated.
  6. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture in thirds, beating on low between each addition.
  7. Scrape the batter into the pan, smooth the top, and place the pan on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake the cake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, lift it out with the parchment paper and let it cool on a wire rack until fully cooled.

Nutrition Facts



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cake, pound cake
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Would you like to comment?

  1. It has been a long time since I have made a pound cake. I might have to remedy that this weekend when the boys are home for Thanksgiving.

  2. Beautiful loaf - and that thick icing is so gorgeous!

  3. Great choice for the topping and great tips about the construction of the cake.

  4. Thanks for all the tips. I didn't know several of the tips you shared. Your cake looks delicious.


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