Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (2024)

Julie Clark

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7 simple ingredients make up this classic, old fashioned pound cake. It’s thick and rich with a golden interior. Top with a sweet vanilla glaze for a simple dessert.

In an old cookbook of mine, I came across a classic pound cake recipe. It had a unique method of testing the pound cake batter called a “float test”. I’ll talk about that down below, but old cookbooks are known for their strange baking tips and tricks, so I had to try it.

Float test or not, this pound cake is a traditional recipe with a simple flavor. It has just a handful of ingredients and creates a delicious pound cake with just a glaze, but also stands up to toppings such as raspberry sauce, caramelized bananas and ice cream.

Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (2)

About this Old Fashioned Pound Cake Recipe:

  • Flavor: The flavor of this cake is simple and slightly sweet. You’ll taste the butter and a hint of vanilla. But you can switch out that vanilla for any flavor you’d like (such as almond extract).
  • Texture: Some cakes are light and fluffy, but pound cakes are generally dense, moist and heavy. They don’t feel heavy when eating them, though, because there is just a simple glaze.
Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (3)

Pound Cake Ingredients

  • Butter. Use real butter for the best texture and flavor. Butter should be at room temperature, but not at all melted.
  • Sugar. There is only granulated sugar in this recipe. That keeps it light and fresh testing.
  • Vanilla. Sometimes I double the vanilla extract. Without doubling, it is just a little hint of vanilla flavor.
  • Eggs. 8 eggs? Yes. It’s a lot. But this cake is worth it.
  • Cake flour. Because you are mixing this cake a lot, cake flour is best so that the crumb stays tender. If you absolutely cannot find cake flour, use all-purpose flour, but make sure you measure it carefully so you don’t add too much.
  • Baking powder. You can see that there is only ½ teaspoon baking powder in this cake. It doesn’t rise up light and fluffy, but this little bit of baking powder does give it a little boost. No baking soda is needed.
  • Salt. Even if you use salted butter, still add the salt.

What is the float test?

As I said above, the original recipe from the old cookbook called for doing a “float test” with the pound cake batter. Why is this trick necessary?

I spent some time researching “the float test” and didn’t come up with too much. I’m guessing that you want air beat into the batter. When the batter floats, there’s enough air in there to make your cake have the best texture.

Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (4)

If that is totally wrong and someone knows the real answer, please let me know!

Pound Cake Toppings

While your cake is baking, you have plenty of time to think about what you’re going to put on your pound cake. Here are a few favorites:

  • fresh raspberry sauce
Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (5)
  • homemade strawberry topping
  • caramelized bananas
Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (6)
  • frozen custard ice cream
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Confectioners’ Sugar for dusting
  • Cinnamon Butter. Toast the slices of pound cake and brush with this butter. Delicious!
  • Melted Peanut Butter
  • Fresh strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or other fresh berries and whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  • Cranberry Sauce(for a Christmas treat!)

Can you make pound cake in advance?

Yes. This cake tastes best the day after baking. Of course you can serve it right away, but we found the flavor was excellent the second day.

Storage Instructions

Store this cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Or store in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

To prevent the cut cake from drying out, I often press plastic wrap around the cut ends.

Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (7)

Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (8)

Old Fashioned Pound Cake

4.64 from 52 votes

7 simple ingredients make up this classic, old fashioned pound cake. It’s thick and rich with a golden interior. Top with a sweet vanilla glaze for a simple dessert.

Servings 15 servings

Prep Time 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time 50 minutes minutes

Total Time 1 hour hour 5 minutes minutes

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  • 1 1/2 cups salted butter room temperature, 340 grams
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 400 grams
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 grams
  • 8 large eggs room temperature
  • 3 cups cake flour 390 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 2 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 grams


  • 1/4 cup salted butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a bundt pan with shortening, then dust with flour. Or use Baker's Joy spray or cake release.

  • In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (or using an electric mixer), cream the butter for 2 minutes in the large bowl on medium speed.

  • Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

  • Mix in the vanilla.

  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined (about 2 minutes), scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

  • Take a small, pea sized piece of batter and drop it into a cup of water. The batter should float in the water. If it does not float, continue to beat a minute at a time until a small drop of batter floats in water.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. (The internal temperature of pound cake should be about 210ºF.)

  • Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes, then invert it to a serving plate.

  • To make the glaze, whisk the melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and cream together. Add enough cream so that the glaze is a drizzling consistency.

  • Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.

  • Serve with raspberry sauce, caramelized bananas or fresh fruit.


*It’s important to use room temperature ingredients so that they blend in well.

**Switch out the vanilla for fresh lemon juice and zests such as lemon zest or orange or lime zests.

Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.

The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**


Serving: 139g | Calories: 476kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 836IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

Author Julie Clark

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Calories 476

Keyword easy bundt cake, pound cake, vintage recipe

Have you tried this recipe?

Share a review below or share on Instagram with the tag #tastesoflizzyt.

Other Pound Cake Recipes

You may also love our sister site, The Best Cake Recipes. There is a sour cream pound cake recipe over there you’ll love.

Vintage Pound Cake Recipe with "The Float Test" for a perfect texture. (2024)


Why is my pound cake grainy? ›

If you find that your cakes are turning out too coarse, the issue could be with how well you're incorporating ingredients. For instance, a rough, grainy texture may result when the sugar and butter (or any other form of fat) haven't been properly emulsified.

How do you test a bundt cake for doneness? ›

Once baked, test the cake for doneness with a long wooden skewer. We prefer these to toothpicks, which are just too short for the tall, dramatic Bundt.

How can pound cakes be made lighter and smoother? ›

Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure your butter, eggs, and any other dairy ingredients are at room temperature. This helps to achieve a smoother batter and a more even bake. Sifting Dry Ingredients: Sift flour and leavening agents to create a lighter cake.

Is it better to bake pound cake at 325 or 350? ›

A steady 325-350 degrees is ideal when it comes to baking pound cake. Position the pan in the middle of the oven, and rotate it once, halfway through the baking time, as it bakes to account for any hot spots.

Can you over mix a pound cake? ›

It's important to not overmix the pound cake batter once you've added in the flour. Once the flour has been added gluten bonds will start to form and if you mix the batter too much your cake will end up tough and bready!

Should you sift flour for a pound cake? ›

Sift: Sifting the flour into the batter makes the cake lighter. It also breaks up any large clumps of flour, making it easier to incorporate into the batter.

How long to leave pound cake in pan? ›

How long do you leave pound cake in the pan? When it's done baking, let the cake sit in the pan for 10 minutes: no more, no less. It's enough time for the cake to firm up some after baking so that it doesn't fall apart, but not so much time that the cake gets stuck to the pan.

What happens when you overbeat a pound cake? ›

If you over-beat the eggs, or beat the butter and sugar too fast, or added too much baking powder, the cake can rise too much and flow over the edges of the pan. Solution – Reduce the mixing time and don't use high speed to mix the ingredients.

What causes a cake to have a heavy texture? ›

If your cake is too dense or too heavy, you may need more leavening or liquid, or you may have used too much sugar or shortening. If your cake crust is too light, you may need more sugar. If your cake doesn't have good flavor, your formula may be unbalanced, or you may need to check the quality of your ingredients.

Why does pound cake sink in the middle? ›

Overbeating, Overmixing, or Undermixing Your Cake Batter

Too much air and your cake will collapse because it simply can't hold onto all that air. Overbeating can add too much additional air and/or large air bubbles which the cake can't support, causing it to collapse in the oven.

How do you know when a pound cake is done without a toothpick? ›

Our Favorite Alternative to Toothpicks

Look at your knife set and find the one with the thinnest blade. Then insert the blade into the center of the cake. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is done. If batter or crumbs stick to the blade, let your cake bake a few minutes more and retest with a clean knife.

What is the best way to test cake? ›

The best way to do this is to gently press on the center of the cake with a few fingers to see if it springs back. If your fingers leave little indents, your cake isn't done baking. Return it to the oven for at least 5 minutes before checking it again.

What makes a cake light and fluffy? ›

You need to incorporate as much air into the eggs as possible, as this is what levels the cake and will give you a light and fluffy sponge. Set a timer for 7 minutes and allow the electric mixer to do the work before adding any sugar. The eggs should triple in volume and look pale, thick and shiny.

How do you make a cake soft and spongy? ›

For a soft cake, you need to use eggs, butter, and flour at room temperature. Use buttermilk: Buttermilk is a tenderizer and a highly acidic substance that breaks down the gluten in flour. So, add a bit of buttermilk and baking soda to your batter for a soft, moist, and fluffy cake.

What makes a cake more dense? ›

On their own, boxed cake mixes have a structure that's loose and airy. But if you add ¼ cup flour or half a box of instant pudding mix, the texture of the cake becomes denser and tighter, ideal for a pound-cake-like consistency that will hold the shape of a Bundt pan.


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