Old Fashioned Pound Cake with a Crunchy Top

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This pound cake features the most amazing, crunchy top crust, white the inside of the cake is moist, dense, and rich.  It's an old fashioned pound cake recipe that I got from my grandmother, and it is a family favorite.

Pound Cake with blueberries, blackberries, and edible purple flowers on a floral plate on a dark wood background.

My grandma Berta's old fashioned pound cake recipe is a family favorite all year long, but it seems especially right in the spring and summer, for some reason.  Maybe that's just because we often make it for dessert at our family's Easter dinner.  Or maybe because the pound cake is so good with fresh fruit.  Whatever the reason, about this time of year (hey, here in Phoenix, February is as close to spring as we're going to get) that I start thinking about pulling amazing pound cake recipe card out of the box.

Slice of pound cake topped with blackberries, blueberries, and edible purple flowers, on a floral plate with a fork on a dark background.

The cake itself is fabulous--moist, dense, exactly what you'd want in a pound cake.  But the defining charictaristic of this recipe is the crunchy, cookie-like crust that forms on the top of the loaf of pound cake.  When my mother was in pastry school, she learned that the way the crust cooked probably meant that there was something "wrong" with the recipe, in a technical sense.  The whole family threatened mutiny if she dared try to fix our beloved crunchy-topped pound cake recipe, though.  It might not have gotten the highest marks from the pastry chef instructor, but it's outrageously delicious and we adore it, just the way it is.

Ingredients for vanilla pound cake recipe set out on granite counter.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Two bread loaf pans filled with pound cake batter on a light wood background.

Cream the sugar and vegetable shortening (Crisco) together.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, salt, baking soda).  Add the wet ingredients (vanilla and buttermilk).  Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients (about 1/3 of the quantity at a time), mixing after each addition.  

Divide batter between two bread loaf pans.

Loaf of pound cake with one slice cut off and a bread knife on a round cutting board on a dark wood surface.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 300 and bake for another 15 or so minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean.

See that crunchy, golden crust?  If you leave a loaf of pound cake wrapped on the counter, I guarantee, within 24 hours, the top will have been nibbled away, bite by sneaky bite.

Slice of pound cake topped with blackberries, blueberries, and edible purple flowers, on a floral plate with a fork on a dark background.

The pound cake is marvelous for making petit fours (and then you legitimately get to eat the crunchy bits trimmed off!), but I like it best just plain, or perhaps with some fresh fruit.  So simple, and so good.  Beautiful, I think, too.  You don't have to make something complicated to make something special!

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Want a one page, printable version of this pound cake recipe?  I can do that for you.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake:

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Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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