"Modern" Pound Cake Recipe

sliced pound cake on plate

Old-time pound cake recipes often called one pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. However, a 1920 promotional cookbook for Snowdrift shortening contained a recipe for “Modern” Pound Cake that called for Snowdrift instead of butter; and didn’t call for equal proportions of the other ingredients.

Recipe for Modern Pound Cake
Source: A New Snowdrift Cook Book (1920)

The recipe may not be a traditional pound cake recipe – though the use of shortening doesn’t exactly seem modern either – but, in any case, “Modern” Pound Cake turned out wonderfully. The cake is moist and rich, with a  hint of lemon.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Modern Pound Cake

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup shortening

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon mace (optional)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°  F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.  Put sugar and shortening in a mixing bowl; beat until combined. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts, milk, baking powder, salt, and (if desired) mace; beat until combined. Add flour and beat until well blended.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.


61 thoughts on “"Modern" Pound Cake Recipe

  1. The use of shortening in this rather than butter seemed a bit odd, until I remembered that my favorite pumpkin bread recipe uses Crisco as the shortening, and it’s just fabulous. I’ve tucked this recipe away to try, as well.

  2. Mother had a recipe called 1-2-3-4 cake that referenced the shortening, sugar, flour, and eggs (not sure of the order, but I don’t recall which was which) that was a pound cake. I always loved it, and made it a lot myself as an adult. It had a glaze made from orange juice and sugar. I still have the recipe in my handwritten cook book from Home Ec. She always made her baked items with shortening and not butter–but of course it was Crisco–the pure all vegetable shortening for modern cooks. 🙂

    1. mmm. . . An icing glaze would be a nice addition to this recipe. Many mid-20th century recipes called for shortening. Baked goods made using shortening have a nice texture and flavor.

  3. Any idea why the servings, preptime, and difficulty were converted into some maybe Slavic language? A peculiar form of hacking? This is what it looked like:

    Sajian: 6 – 8
    Waktu: 1 hour 15 minutes
    Kesulitan: easy

    The rest of the recipe and prose was in plain English – weird, huh?

  4. I love pound cake and make it every year when fresh strawberries are in season. Thanks for this “modern” recipe. Mine uses butter. The amount of liquid in this recipe seems so low! I will give it a try.

    1. The four eggs provided much of the needed liquid. The batter was fairly thick, but it seemed like the amount of liquid called for was correct.

  5. I’ve been making a one-step pound cake for 40+ years. Everything goes in at once and you use either yogurt or sour cream…always good, other than once using low fat yogurt, that was awful, and dry!

    1. mmm. . . your pound cake recipe sounds sounds like a winner. I have a regular cake recipe that calls for sour cream that I really like.

  6. The Snowdrift threw me a bit. I ended up researching lard, butter, hydrogenation, and trans fats. I learned more about cooking today than planned. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I know that Snowdrift was made from cottonseed. It’s fascinating how highly processed shortenings were considered modern a hundred years ago.

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