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Elvis Presley’s Favorite Pound Cake

A sliced pound cake being served with whipped cream and raspberries.
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
  • Active Time

    20 minutes

  • Total Time

    3 hours 30 minutes (includes cooling)

This is the best pound cake recipe we’ve ever tasted. To master it, all you need are a few baking essentials and a cold oven. As esteemed baker Cheryl Day notes, a cold oven pound cake bakes slowly, so the buttery batter has time to lift as the temperature rises.

A couple of key ingredients make all the difference. Among the dry ingredients, cake flour is crucial. Because it results in less gluten formation than all-purpose flour, cake flour produces a pound cake with a notably more tender, airy crumb. (That said, it is possible to make a cake flour substitute.)

How you incorporate the heavy cream is similarly important. After the batter is mostly combined, you’ll beat in the cream for a full 5 minutes. This aerates the cake batter, which, along with the addition of 7 whole eggs, eliminates the need for leaveners like baking powder or baking soda.

Traditional pound cake recipes often call for a Bundt cake pan, but this recipe can be prepared in a tube pan or divided between two 8x4" loaf pans if you prefer. Whichever shape you choose, butter and flour the pan well, or pick up a canister of our favorite baking spray so the cake unmolds with ease. 

This homemade pound cake is delicious as is, but you can customize it in all sorts of ways. Swap half the vanilla extract in the cake batter for almond extract for nutty flavor. Or, make a lemon pound cake by incorporating lemon zest into the batter and topping the cake with an easy lemon glaze. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar alongside fresh berries and whipped cream or just add a scoop of ice cream.


10–12 servings

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for buttering pan
3 cups (345 g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) plus additional for dusting
¾ tsp. kosher salt
3 cups (600 g) sugar
7 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (8 oz.) heavy cream

Special Equipment

10" tube pan (4½" deep; not with a removable bottom) or a 10" Bundt pan (3¼" deep; 3-qt. capacity)
  1. Step 1

    Put oven rack in middle position, but do not preheat oven.

    Step 2

    Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour.

    Step 3

    Sift 3 cups (345 g) sifted cake flour and ¾ tsp. kosher salt into a medium bowl. Repeat sifting into another medium bowl (flour will have been sifted 3 times total).

    Step 4

    Beat together 2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened, and 3 cups (600 g) sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or 6 to 8 minutes with a handheld mixer. Add 7 large eggs, at room temperature, 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in 2 tsp. vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add half of flour mixture, then 1 cup heavy cream, then remaining flour mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of the bowl, then beat at medium-high speed 5 minutes. Batter will become creamier and satiny.

    Step 5

    Spoon batter into prepared pan and rap pan against work surface once or twice to eliminate air bubbles. Place pan in (cold) oven and turn oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 60–75 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around inner and outer edges of cake, then invert rack over pan and invert cake onto rack to cool completely.

    Do ahead: Cake keeps, covered well with plastic wrap or in an airtight container, at room temperature 5 days.

    Editor’s note: This recipe was printed in the September 2005 issue of ‘Gourmet.’ Head this way for more of our favorite cake recipes →

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Reviews (281)

Back to TopTriangle
  • I bake this cake very often Grandsons and daughters love it I have to keep a pound cake around, and this is the one,,❤️👍🏽

    • Evelyn Thomas

    • Valley, Al

    • 5/29/2023

  • This is a fantastic cake that I will be making again and again. I was nervous about mixing the batter with flour for 5 minutes past incorporation but the cake was not tough at all. In fact, it was “fluffier” than any other pound cake recipe I have tried - but still had that dense feeling. So delicious. It almost reminded us of angel food cake. I baked this in two loaf pans and should have checked them before the 60 min mark because I think they were slightly over baked. Even so, this was a hit! I highly recommend this cake and am adding it to my favorites list!

    • Marci T

    • Nashville, TN

    • 5/15/2023

  • The first time I made this pound cake I was disappointed in several aspects of it, but have just learned that I did not have the "rest of the story" that time because I did not have the smaller details contained in this correct recipe! I know it is always important to follow all those details when baking (unlike most cooking), but the initial "recipe" was missing all of the most important pieces of the correct ways to actually do this cake correctly! I am a first timer for this site, but certainly not a "last timer"! I am subscribing and looking forward to learning so much from you. I have already perused your site and learned from it, despite my being 75 years old and been trying to learn better cooking and baking for many years now to no avail. Most sites assume you know a lot that you don't if you didn't grow up cooking and baking with someone who taught you these details, but you are very thorough. THANK YOU! Oh, yes, AND THIS CAKE WAS DELICIOUS!

    • Busy Lady

    • Durham, NC

    • 11/10/2022

  • I absolutely love this cake. I've made it 10X or more. Everyone one loves it! It's my husband favorite.

    • Mrs. DP

    • Charlotte,NC

    • 10/2/2022

  • This is a followup to a review that I posted when I baked this cake the first in October 2020. I made it again today. I am changing my rating to 5 stars. This time I remembered to start the baking with a cold oven! The only change that I made was to reduce the sugar from 3 cups to 2½ cups because when I baked it the first time without any changes, it seemed overly sweet to me. I used Swans Down Cake Flour, sifted it before measuring corrected the 3 cups of measured sifted flour on a kitchen scale to equal 12 ounces (just had to add a bit more). By the way, I noticed an error in my previous review -- it should say, "1 cup of SIFTED cake flour equals 4 ounces." I spooned the batter into a 10-inch enameled aluminum tube pan (buttered and floured), placed it it in a cold oven, and set the temperature to 350°F. I used a bundt pan last time but even with lowering oven temperature by 25° the heavy holds too much heat for this delicate cake. I also placed a sheet pan on the rack below the one holding the cake -- a technique I use to prevent the bottom crust from over-browning when baking sourdough bread in a cast iron Dutch oven at a high oven temperature. It shields the baking item from the heating elements on the oven floor. This seemed to work great! The cake came out with an evenly golden crust and looks beautiful. At 60 minutes, the top of the cake looked done but the cake tester inserted in the middle came out with some moist batter, so I set the timer for 5 minutes, checked again, set the timer for another 5 minutes, watched it, tested about 3 minutes when I saw the sides beginning to pull away, and it was done. Ovens are all so different, so I would say to watch it carefully at the 60 minute mark. No problem with turning the cake out of the pan after the 30 minute rest.

    • N1CF2

    • West Palm Beach, FL

    • 7/18/2022

  • I have made this many times. It is a wonderful recipe

    • Marcus Dunham

    • Beaverton Oregon

    • 2/26/2022

  • Absolutely wonderful. I've made this cake twice. I made it as prescribed both times except I reduced the sugar to two and a half cups which was perfect for my tastes I did make this in a Bundt pan. I used Swans Down cake flour. Cooking time was 1 hour and 7 minutes at 325 starting with a cold over, I generously buttered the pan so that it would not stick. The result was a perfectly brown cake with a tender crust. Yes, if you like a denser pound cake you will find this light, but keep in mind that you are using cake flour. I do think that the technique in making this cake is crucial, follow the steps. If you are an experienced baker you can modify this to take on other flavors. Thanks for a great cake.

    • Tom

    • Southampton, NY

    • 1/15/2022

  • I make this cake about once a month, truly a wonderful cake!!

    • Anonymous

    • Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

    • 12/22/2021

  • Good result in spite of my error! I scrupulously followed the recipe but somehow missed the instruction to start the baking in a cold oven. I had already preheated my oven to 350℉ and popped the cake into the oven before noticing this. It was too late to comply, so I just crossed my fingers. The timer was set for 60 minutes, but retrospect I should have checked for doneness sooner. The cake (in a 10-inch aluminum tube pan) probably would have tested “just” done at about 55 minutes. Fortunately, no harm done. The cake rose to a good height, baked evenly, developed a golden brown top and a moist, finely textured crumb. From my perspective, the only criticism is that it is VERY sweet - the reason I gave it 3 forks instead of 4 (should be 3.5). Next time, I will reduce the sugar from 3 cups to 2½ cups, which, based on my experience with other creamed cakes, should not affect the quality. However, f you love super sweet cakes, make it as written. On another note, measuring flour by volume can be variable. I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure by weight. I cup of unsifted cake flour equals 4 ounces (115 grams).

    • n1cf2

    • West Palm Beach, FL

    • 10/7/2020

  • I have made this cake 20 times, PERFECT every time. This is a 4 FORK recipe. Anyone that gave it less than a 4 didn’t follow the recipe fully. Why would you giving something a low rating because you can’t follow directions??? Read the directions 3 times if you need to, but if you follow all directions you will have a PERFECT Pound Cake!

    • Anonymous

    • Atlanta, Georgia

    • 8/14/2020

  • Such a classic! I added a bit of Tonka, it's delicious. Baked it for a good hour and 15min.

    • nimikoe3972

    • Zagreb, Croatia

    • 11/16/2019

  • I followed the recipe exactly except for cooking in 2 loaf pans. Cooking time was the same as a single cake. It was outstanding.

    • Anonymous

    • NY

    • 5/31/2019

  • I've made this cake a few times, we all love it, one of my family's favorites. Last night I made it again and it didn't grow! made it the same as every other time, not sure what happened, if anyone has any ideas of what happened please share

    • Monica FP

    • 5/30/2019

  • I found this recipe when I was hugely pregnant with my kid. I made it for my OB who insisted that if I wanted my C section, I had to make it for the labor and delivery staff. NO JOKE! The night before I had my kid, I was making two of these. I brought them in at the crack of dawn before I had my kid. My OB disappeared and everyone freaked out until I said for them to check the nurses station. SURE ENOUGH! He was there eating cake. I've made it for him every year for my gyn appointments and his staff say it's the only time they see him indulging in carbs. This is the best cake.

    • VirtuallyKim

    • California

    • 4/16/2019

  • Absolutely amazing! People beg me to make it over and over again. You can’t lose with this recipe 👍🏼

    • Rmadaris76

    • Atlanta GA

    • 6/23/2018

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