Making your first classic pound cake

When I was a kid, my family rarely shopped at the supermarket. If we did, I would always beg my parents to get me a box of Sara Lee’s pound cake. To me, Sara Lee’s pound cake was the best cake in the world. If I was having a bad day in school, I would open the fridge, cut a slice and eat it, and everything instantly seems brighter.

So it was no surprise that the classic pound cake was the first cake I baked from scratch. Besides hoping to recreate my childhood treat, the cake was easy to make. The list of ingredients is short and everything can be found in the neighbourhood supermarket.

This is the cake to make if you are attempting to bake for the first time, or if you don’t have the proper baking tools. When I first made this cake, I didn’t even have a loaf pan or an oven. Armed with a wooden spoon and some cheap plastic measuring cups, using a bit of elbow grease, I creamed butter and sugar, mixed in the flour and eggs, and everything was done without a machine.

Getting the cake mixture done was one thing, baking it in a toaster oven was another. At that time, I wasn’t sure if this “baking fad” of mine will last, so I didn’t want to invest a few hundred bucks in an oven. I was also very certain the toaster oven can be used to bake a cake. I had to “MacGyver” quite a bit–adjusting the timer, covering the cake to prevent it from getting burned. I was hovering around the toaster oven, making sure everything was ok. My instinct was right. The cake turned out to be perfect. And all my friends were amazed that I baked it via the toaster oven.

The cake itself was no Sara Lee’s pound cake. It was so much better than that. This was the first time I realised the power of butter. The cake is rich and intense. You do not need to have a huge slice to feel satisfied. Because the cake is so buttery, one of my favourite ways to warm it up is actually to pan-fry it. The result is you get a smoky note when you bite into the cake. It may sound really strange, but do give it a go and you just might like it.

Though I was slightly (or not) disappointed that this classic pound cake tasted nothing like Sara Lee’s, it became my gateway to baking. Since then, my suite of kitchen tools has expanded and I have not stopped baking. It’s just great to know that I can whip up a cake as I please, just like how I opened the fridge as a child and got my slice of Sara Lee.


About Mandy Ng

Mandy’s journey into the culinary world began out of necessity–a means of survival whilst she was at university. She believes cooking should be simple and fun. Besides spending time in the kitchen whipping up hearty meals, Mandy also dreams of having a bottomless stomach that she can fill with all kinds of delicious things.