vanilla bean buttermilk pound cake

I remember watching my nana eat toasted poundcake. It seemed like such a grown up thing to do. She didn’t make her own though. She didn’t do any baking that I remember, though I was only seven when she passed away. Likely because being a single mother and working in a factory making hair notions and such took up most of her time.

I suddenly found myself craving pound cake a couple of weeks ago. It may have been the old butter issue of Saveur sending me subliminal messages from the kitchen counter. I also had a fridge stocked with lots of Kerrygold butter—some I bought, and some I was given at a work event a few weeks ago with Chef Cathal Armstrong. It’s the best butter in my book, and I’ve used many different brands.


But would you believe me if I told you I’d never actually made one before? Oddly enough with all the baking I do, pound cake comes with a lot of guilt. It’s not for the faint of heart with all the butter and eggs needed to make one mere 9-inch loaf cake. I set out using equal proportions of butter, eggs and flour, but not a pound of each as used in many recipes. They generally yield two loaves or one large bundt cake and I just wanted one loaf cake…for now.



This recipe is in weight, so it’s time to get a scale. You could try doing the conversion to cups but it won’t be 100% accurate.

And really great quality butter. You’ll taste it in the final product. My local Trader Joe’s sells Kerrygold for around $3 for an eight-ounce bar. 

I also learned something new with this recipe long after it was baked.

About one week later in fact. 

It gets better with age. The first day it’s made the crumb is light and tender. As the days pass, it kind of settles and the flavor intensifies. What it doesn’t do is dry out. Maybe all that butter holds in the moistness?


Whatever the secret, it’s the cake that keeps on giving. If you’re wondering how I managed to make it last a whole week, it’s because you only need a sliver. A half-inch thick slice at most was enough to satisfy my craving.  And yes, I did indeed enjoy some toasted with a cup of coffee.

Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Pound Cake

makes one 9-inch loaf cake

8 ounces good-quality butter, softened

8 ounces sugar

8 ounces flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, room temperature & lightly beaten

1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise & seeds scraped

1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Butter a 9-inch loaf pan.

Whisk flour and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine eggs, vanilla bean seeds and buttermilk in a measuring cup; set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add half the flour and mix on low speed until just combined. Pour in half the egg mixture and mix again until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and egg mixtures.

Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 70 to 75 minutes, or until deep golden and the telltale crack on top has formed. Oh, yes and until a metal skewer inserted comes out clean.


  • The Runaway Spoon

    What a great recipe. For many years, I only made pound cake from a so-called “easy” recipe I cut from a magazine. Then I found an old recipe in my grandmother’s files for the real “pound cake” – made like this with a pound of each ingredient. It was no more difficult than the “easy” recipe, but so much better. Lots of good memories. Now I want to add a vanilla bean as well. By the way, I recently found Kerrygold at Costco, for St. Paddy’s I think, and stocked up.

  • Lynn

    This looks amazing! I have buttermilk sitting in the fridge that I’ve been meaning to use… so glad I read this! Thanks!

  • Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    Whenever someone says “it’s so rich you only need a little bit” I feel like a space alien. On what planet do people stop eating things that are rich and delicious? On my planet, that’s an excellent reason to have another slice. Which is why, on my planet, you can’t have stuff like this in the house. But I’ll come have a slice at your house!

  • Nicole Pelton

    Oh dear, this was the recipe I was looking for 🙂 Well, inspired by reading this, I got some good butter from Trader Joes and made the Lemon-buttermilk pound cake from Baking Bites 🙂

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