When I think of memories of Christmases growing up, my mind always seems to settle on the image of nearly every surface in our kitchen covered with cookies, tiny pound cakes, and peanut butter fudge cooling and waiting to be made into gift baskets. I can still smell the buttery sweetness in the air and feel the way the red and green Christmas saran wrap felt as I helped to twist the bundles of goodies closed.
With the pandemic baking of everything from banana bread to sourdough loaves, our ovens have gotten quite the workout this year – so much so, there’s actually now an appliance shortage. But homemade goodies are synonymous with the holidays, so let’s get baking!
Classic Butter Pound Cake
This simple classic pound cake recipe is as versatile as it is delicious! This recipe makes approximately 7 cups of batter, which is plenty to divide into multiple flavor variations if you’re doing mini loaf pans. I’ve included a few of our favorite variations at the end. The cake comes out with a delicately crisp outside and a fabulously moist, dense inside. An excellent recipe that’s been foolproof for generations now!
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups of sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons almond extract
Preheat oven to 325° F. Cream all ingredients together BY HAND. (If playing with different flavor variations, only use the vanilla extract here.) Pour into greased mini loaf pans and bake 40-55 minutes depending on the size of your pans. The cake is very dense and a regular-sized loaf pan can take nearly 90 minutes of bake time, so it’s important to test the doneness regularly by inserting a knife in the center until it comes out clean.
Sorry, I don’t have exact measurements for you here, but the batter is pretty forgiving so you can just eyeball it to your liking!
- Almost any variation would be delicious topped with a simple glaze like this one from The Spruce Eats.
- Try substituting lemon, rum, orange, or pineapple extract for the almond extract (although almond brings out some flavors, so try both!).
- Add in chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, or even nuts.
- Add in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder for a chocolate batter or add it just to a portion of the batter to create a marble pound cake.
- Add in brown sugar and cinnamon to a portion of the batter and thin with a little milk to create a cinnamon swirl effect when you layer it in the pan. I like to top the unbaked loaf with a simple streusel topping ( ¼ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon).
- Add in some drained crushed pineapple and some macadamia nuts for a tropical twist.
- Add a layer of jam between batter layers for a fruit swirl effect. This is especially delicious with lemon batter and blueberry jam – can even add in fresh blueberries!
- Add peanut butter to the batter and mix in chocolate chips. Or try a peanut butter batter with a jam layer in between for a PB&J swirl.
- Try a cream cheese filling like you’d use for cream cheese swirl brownies as a layer in between. The possibilities are endless!
What’s your favorite?