EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 17, 2014

Pound Cake: Then and now

In my search for a tried and true family pound cake recipe, I discovered a way to bake one I had never heard of, undoubtedly because it is at least a 100-year-old recipe.

It is called a “cold-oven” pound cake, which is started in a stone-cold oven versus a pre-heated oven.

This cake became popular in the South at the turn of the 20th century, when gas lighting was still used but new gas oven technology was being introduced. Apparently because the cold-oven pound cake was seen as thrifty, the gas companies used the recipe as a marketing tool promising that money could be saved by no “needless” preheating. I do not know if the recipe successfully sold more stoves, but the “cold oven” method apparently became a very popular way to bake a pound cake, and in the South it remained popular into the 1940s.

Cold-Oven Pound Cake


3 cups cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 cups sugar

6 large eggs

1. Use an angel-food cake tube pan, well greased and floured.

2. Combine dry ingredients. Combine milk and vanilla in measuring cup.

3. With electric mixer on medium, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of milk. Mix on low about 30 seconds.

4. Place in a cold oven, bake in a 325 degree F oven on the lower middle rack until cake is golden brown. Do not open oven door for 65 minutes; may need to cook 10 to 15 minutes longer.


It seems everyone has a favorite pound cake; some become the star of many a Sunday dinner table. This recipe has a rich texture, and the addition of fresh lemon juice adds bright, fresh flavor.

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