15 Creative Ways To Elevate Humble Pound Cake

Poundcake is a timeless dessert that we all know and love. It's perfect for any day of the week but also holidays, barbecues, and fancy parties, and it seldom disappoints. The dessert carries its recipe in its name, as the "pound" stands for the amount of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour required by the original recipe. However, things have changed in time, and nowadays, we have classic pound cake recipes that require sour cream to complete the butter's texture and moisten the cake.

When it comes to the ingredients you use in a poundcake, you should always consider the variety. For example, not all butter types are suitable for pound cake. As it turns out, the best butter when making pound cake is European butter, which has a high-fat percentage (which keeps the poundcake moist) and is not sweetened. But what can you do when you've already used what's best, but there's still something missing from your dessert? Well, you give your pound cake an upgrade. Here are the best ways to do this.

Cover it with icing or frosting

Biting into a freshly baked pound cake is a sweet sensation that's hard to beat. But sometimes, it feels like something's missing. In those cases, you can't go wrong with a generous coating of icing or frosting.

Pound cake is a dense and heavy cake that can be a little dry and crumbly on its own. However, add a layer of creamy frosting, and suddenly you've got a textural contrast that is pure heaven. The frosting or icing also adds flavor. For example, ermine frosting has a velvety texture and a mild, creamy taste that complements the cake's richness. On the other hand, cream cheese frosting has a tangy sweetness that cuts through the dense cake and adds a lovely depth of flavor. And let's not forget about classic buttercream frosting, with its smooth and decadent texture and pure, sugary goodness.

Icing can also enhance the appearance of pound cake. Glaze icing is a simple mixture of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. It's almost effortless to make and perfect for drizzling over the top of a pound cake. Buttercream icing is another suitable addition to pound cake. It's made with butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, and its rich and creamy topping is perfect for providing a touch of sweetness to pound cake.

Top it with fruit

Fruit is an excellent way to elevate a poundcake that many people usually have on hand. Topping a pound cake with fresh, juicy fruit can take it from boring to brilliant. A great addition to pound cake is rhubarb. Although it's technically a vegetable, rhubarb is often used as a fruit in the culinary world. Rhubarb pairs perfectly with pound cake, adding a zing of flavor and a pop of color. This rhubarb pound cake with black tea and whipped cream recipe is a great example.

Of course, rhubarb isn't the only fruit that can take a pound cake to the next level. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries all work beautifully. They add a sweetness that balances out the rich, buttery flavor of the cake. And let's not forget about peaches, plums, and nectarines. These stone fruits are juicy and fragrant, adding delightful flavor to every bite. In addition, the texture of the fruit brings something different to the pound cake and makes it all the more interesting.

Add a streusel topping

A streusel topping added to pound cake can make some magic. It's a symphony of flavors and consistencies where soft and crumbly meet for an outstanding dessert. Pound cake is a delightful treat, but adding a streusel topping takes it to a new level of deliciousness.

The sweetness of the cake combined with the crispy, buttery flavor of the streusel is the perfect example of aromas that complete each other. In addition, the streusel's crunchy texture adds a delightful contrast to the moist, dense cake, making it even more irresistible. Streusel topping is usually made with flour, sugar, and butter, and you can add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg for extra flavor. Mix these ingredients until they resemble coarse crumbs, and then sprinkle them generously over your pound cake batter before baking. Streusel topping goes best with plain vanilla pound cake, but you can try adding it to chocolate or lemon pound cake if you want to experiment. Either way, you will get a spectacular dessert.

Mix nuts into the batter

Have you ever had a slice of pound cake so rich and decadent that it makes you want to close your eyes and savor every bite? Adding nuts to the batter is the secret to elevating your pound cake game to the next level. You could go for classic walnuts, which add a delightful crunch and a hint of bitterness that perfectly complements the pound cake's sweet, buttery flavor. Or you could try pecans, which bring a deep, caramel-like taste.

But if you want to take things up a notch, try a pineapple and cashew lime pound cake. The combination of tangy pineapple, creamy cashews, and zesty lime is divine. The pineapple adds a juicy sweetness that pairs perfectly with the nuttiness of the cashews, while the lime brings a bright, refreshing note that balances out the dessert's overall richness. The secret to making this heavenly cake is to fold in the cashews and pineapple chunks gently so that they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. So, next time you're in the mood for a slice of pound cake, don't settle for plain old vanilla. Instead, mix in some nuts and enjoy the earthy aromas.

Grill your pound cake for an elevated taste

Grilling pound cake is an unexpected way to add flavor and crisp texture. Through grilling, you will get a caramelized exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender, something that's impossible to achieve with traditional baking methods. Grilling also brings out the natural sweetness of the cake, adding depth to its taste. The charred, smoky notes play beautifully off the buttery richness of the cake, making it an unforgettable culinary experience.

You can do even more to elevate the flavor and texture of your grilled pound cake. Imagine grilling a yogurt pound cake and then topping it with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream. The charred cake balances the tangy yogurt, juicy fruit, and airy whipped cream. It's a symphony of flavors that will make your taste buds sing.

When grilling pound cake, use medium-high heat for about two or three minutes per side or until you achieve the desired level of carmelization. And don't forget to serve it warm with a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce for the ultimate indulgence.

Spice it up

Another great way to elevate the taste of pound cake is by mixing the batter with spices. Chai spices are a great example, as they represent an explosion of flavors that makes almost anything better. Chai is a blend of spices that originated in India, usually containing cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. You can try adding more spices from there, but these three are the best starting point. Cinnamon is sweet and earthy, ginger is zesty, and cardamom is floral and light; these flavors mix wonderfully with everything that characterizes pound cake.

When using chai spices in your pound cake, ground and mix them, and add them to the batter before baking. Then, you can opt for more ingredients and add allspice and black pepper, which will only enhance the aroma. Their warm and slightly bitter taste pairs perfectly with the sweetness of pound cake, adding a depth of flavor that's hard to beat.

Use different extracts

Mixing different extracts in the batter is among the easiest ways to elevate pound cake. Ina Garten has a foolproof method for a better pound cake, using a splash of cognac, a touch of lemon zest, and a dash of vanilla extract. The three flavors combine excellently and pair with the cake's buttery taste. Cognac brings a warm, rich depth to the cake, while the lemon zest provides a bright, zesty kick that cuts through the sweetness. And, of course, vanilla extract adds that familiar, comforting note that ties it all together.

To make the pound cake, start with the usual ingredients  — flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. Then, add Ina Garten's secret ingredients. Once the batter is mixed and poured into the loaf pan, it's time to pop it in the oven and let the aromas waft through the house. The texture of this pound cake is moist and tender, with a delicate crumb that practically melts in your mouth. We can't recommend it highly enough.

Add a layer of jam

The simple fruit jam is a somewhat improbable candidate for flavoring pound cake. Putting together two desserts that don't have much in common and are not considered spectacular can't produce results with a "wow" factor, right? Think again. As it turns out, pound cake and jam are the main ingredients in a very sophisticated-looking (and sounding) dessert. Enter petit fours.

Petit fours is a small, French-inspired dessert comprising tiny slices of moist, buttery pound cake cut into rectangles, slathered with generous layers of fruit jam, and topped with fresh fruit. The jam adds a flavor and sweetness that complements the cake without overpowering it, while the fruit adds freshness. For an easy but spectacular-looking petit fours recipe, use vanilla pound cake, blueberry jam, and fresh blueberries.

But why stop at one type of jam? Instead, mix things up and try different flavors to find your perfect pairing. Feeling fancy? How about a dollop of fig jam on a lemon pound cake? Or perhaps some raspberry jam on a chocolate pound cake? The possibilities are endless, and they will take your senses on an adventure.

Put pound cake in a trifle

Pound cake is the perfect base for any trifle, providing a sturdy yet tender foundation that soaks up all the delicious flavors that come its way. Pound cake is the ultimate team player, allowing the other ingredients to shine while adding its own buttery, vanilla-scented charm.

Making a trifle is all about texture, and pound cake delivers in spades. Its tight crumb ensures that the layers of cream and fruit don't turn the trifle into a soggy mess but create a delightful contrast of soft and crunchy textures. A cherry pistachio trifle recipe pairs pound cake with sweet and sour fruit, such as cherries and nutty pistachios. The cherries are tart and sweet, while the pistachios add an earthy crunch that takes things to the next level.

Cut the pound cake into cubes and layer them at the bottom of a glass trifle dish to assemble this trifle. Next, add a layer of freshly whipped cream, pitted, stewed cherries, and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. Repeat the layers until you reach the top of the dish, ending with a generous dollop of cream and a final sprinkle of pistachios.

Toast your pound cake

Toasting pound cake is a surefire way to elevate this classic dessert and take it from ordinary to extraordinary. Applying a little heat will unlock new dimensions of flavor and texture — and when you add a sprinkle of cinnamon, things become interesting.

Toasting pound cake imparts a crispy texture to its once soft and moist crumb. This added crunch brings a delightful contrast to the cake's soft, dense crumb. Toasting also creates a golden-brown color, a beautiful hue that's immediately pleasing to the eye. The process also enhances its flavor. Heating the cake caramelizes the sugar, creating a more profound and complex sweetness. The cinnamon-toasted pound cake combines the warm spice of cinnamon with the richness of the pound cake to create a flavor sensation that is nothing short of divine.

To toast the pound cake, cut it into thick slices, brush them with butter, and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. Then, toast the cuts in the oven until golden brown and crisp. The result is a cake with a crispy outside and a tender inside. In addition, it has a flavor that bursts with the warm and comforting aromas of cinnamon and sugar.

Make an ice cream cake with frozen pound cake

Pound cake is a way of taking your ice cream cake game to the next level. The texture contrast alone is enough to convince you this is one of the best possible desserts. The dense, moist pound cake provides a sturdy base for the luscious ice cream layered around it while adding a delightful crumbly texture to every bite.

But let's not forget about the flavors. You can combine frozen pound cake with your favorite ice cream and infuse it with any flavor combination you desire. For example, try vanilla ice cream with a traditional pound cake for a classic take or lemon pound cake with raspberry sorbet. You can also add different toppings and creams. A drizzle of hot fudge or caramel sauce is always a crowd-pleaser, but why not try something more unexpected? Crushed Oreos or graham crackers add a satisfying crunch, while whipped cream and fresh berries provide a bright and refreshing finish.

Play around with colors in a marble pound cake

Marble pound cake is the perfect combination of classic and contemporary flavors. The traditional buttery texture and moist crumb of a classic pound cake are elevated to a new level with rich, decadent cocoa swirls. When cocoa is added to a classic pound cake recipe, it brings a bittersweet richness that works brilliantly. In addition, the cocoa swirls add a touch of whimsy and visual interest to the cake, making it the perfect dessert to impress your guests.

But it's not just the taste that makes this cake so irresistible. The texture is also a delight to the senses, with its moist, tender crumb. And the marble effect adds an extra layer of fun to the experience, as any given slice or bite could have a burst of cocoa goodness. The buttery texture and cocoa swirls also help keep the cake moist for days, meaning you can enjoy slice after slice without worrying about it drying out.

So, if you're looking for a classic dessert with a modern twist, a marble pound cake is the way to go. Its combination of flavors and textures will leave you craving more, and its ability to stay moist makes it the perfect cake to enjoy anytime, anywhere.

Put some zing into it with lemon zest

Adding lemon zest to your favorite pound cake recipe can add some real depth to its flavor. Freshly grated lemon zest infuses the batter with a bright and citrusy tartness, giving it a pop of color that will surely elevate your pound cake.

But it's not just about the flavor. Add buttermilk to the batter, like in this zingy lemon buttermilk pound cake recipe, to give it a moist texture and citrusy flavor. With its tender crumb, it practically melts in your mouth. And the buttermilk adds a subtle tanginess that will make you want to eat the whole thing in one sitting. In addition, when the pound cake is ready, you can prickle it and add some lemon syrup, making it even more moist and full of lemon flavor. Preparing it only requires the usual ingredients (flour, butter, granulated sugar, eggs), to which you add some lemon juice, zest, buttermilk, and powdered sugar. The pound cake is ready in no time, and you can serve it with a cup of Earl Grey tea, which will match its citrusy zing.

Give it a milky taste with ricotta

Ricotta pound cake is the sophisticated older sister of the classic pound cake. It has a creamy and milky taste, adding depth to the usual pound cake flavors. This creamy and tangy cheese adds richness to the simply irresistible cake. It also creates a tender crumb that doesn't get too heavy

Ricotta pound cake also benefits from lemon's presence, as lemon and ricotta are a perfect match. The bright and zesty flavor of lemon complements ricotta's creamy and milky taste, creating a perfect harmony of flavors. In addition, the lemon cuts through the richness and makes it feel light and summery. When making ricotta pound cake with lemon, use fresh lemon juice and zest. This will give the cake a bright and citrusy flavor that's unbeatable. Then, add a simple lemon glaze on top for extra flavor and sweetness. So, if you're looking for a sophisticated and comforting dessert, look no further than ricotta pound cake.

Use it in bread pudding

If you have some leftover pound cake and have no idea what to make with it, try turning it into something even more delicious. Enter bread pudding, the ultimate comfort food, and the perfect vessel to repurpose your pound cake. Add some condensed milk to the mix to take things up a notch. This creamy, dreamy ingredient will give your bread pudding a sweet and milky flavor that will have you coming back for seconds (and maybe even thirds).

Pound cake is already dense and moist, making it the perfect candidate for bread pudding. The pound cake transforms into a custardy delight when soaked in a mixture of eggs, milk, and condensed milk. Add some raisins or chocolate chips to diversify the flavors and textures further. And don't forget to top it off with a generous dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce.