Pound Cake

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

pound cake is a British invention from around the end of the 1600s or early 1700s—the actual date is uncertain—whose name derives from its proportion of ingredients: one pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. The cakes were large, dense, and buttery, and they kept extremely well at room temperature, an important factor at a time when all baking was accomplished in brick ovens, and when cakes were baked only occasionally. It was advantageous to have a cake on the sideboard for the family to nibble on or to serve in case company dropped in.