National Pound Cake Day is observed annually on March 4 to celebrate the long history of pound cakes and encourage everyone to put their baking hats on and make them for their loved ones. Pound cakes refer to the type of cake traditionally made with one pound each of four ingredients: butter, eggs, flour, and sugar. It typically makes a much larger cake than most families could consume. On National Pound Cake Day, cake lovers around the world are encouraged to celebrate, bake and eat pound cakes with the people they care about.
History of National Pound Cake Day
Every year, Americans and cake lovers around the world observe Pound Cake Day, one of the world’s most versatile cakes. The day is celebrated by bakers and cake lovers alike in a tradition that has lasted over a decade.
In the U.S., pound cake is enjoyed by millions of people who add slight variations of ingredients to the traditional recipe, including vanilla or almond flavoring. Pound cakes are sometimes served with fresh fruit juice or flavored ice cream. For the most part, its sweet, moist, and dense but light taste is eaten plain. The pound cake appears to have originated first in Europe in the 18th century where it is believed that the first recipe to ever call for a pound’s weight of each of the ingredients for making a cake was first seen.
Although the traditional ingredients of the pound cake are well known, there are several variations available that are more often made in today’s America. Each has its distinctive style and recipe and includes the addition of several flavoring agents like vanilla, almond, orange, or lemon extract. Baking soda or baking powder is incorporated to induce leavening during baking to make a less dense pound cake. The cooking oil can also be substituted for butter to produce moisture, but some bakers believe it won’t add any difference to the taste than margarine, which is usually at least 50% cheaper.
National Pound Cake Day timeline
Covering cakes with powdered sugar or similar ingredients is introduced in the 17th century, with the earliest mention of the word 'icing' in 1683.
The first pound cake recipe is published in the 1796 cookbook "American Cookery."
The first single-acting baking powder is developed in England.
The song titled “Pound Cake” by Bill Perkins is one of several songs to be released in honor of the cake.
National Pound Cake Day FAQs
What is pound cake called in the U.K.?
Pound cake. Although there’s a misconception that the name was coined from the British Pound Sterling, pound cake is called the same everywhere and is in fact not British at all.
Is pound cake unhealthy?
It might be. Ingredients like butter, shortening, chocolate, and heavy cream make a cake taste yummy and delicious, but only in moderation. Traditional pound cake ingredients that require a pound of sugar may be unhealthy because of it.
Is pound cake better the next day?
Yes, pound cakes actually taste better the next day! No one knows why, it’s just a known truth, a bakers’ secret if you will. So, endeavor to make your pound cake a day before.
National Pound Cake Day Activities
Bake a pound cake
What better way to celebrate this yummy dessert than by making it. It is easy and comes with the benefit of a delicious dessert. There’s no reason not to bake one for yourself. It only takes one pound each of butter, sugar, and flour, topped off by half a dozen eggs. To begin, cream the butter, sugar, and eggs, one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Add the flour, baking soda, and flavoring, and continue to mix for 10 minutes before pouring the batter in a prepared pan and heating at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Host a pound cake bake-off
Another way to celebrate National Pound Cake Day is to host a pound cake bake-off with friends. You can set the rules as strict or as loose as everyone likes, and select a judge or two to vote for the winner. To see how creative your group is, have everyone use the same recipe and see who in your group adds that extra touch of creativity to their cake.
Spread awareness on social media
Help others get involved! Share recipes and tantalizing pictures of your own pound cake to inspire them to bake one as a way to celebrate National Pound Cake Day. Use hashtags #NationalPoundCakeDay #PoundCake or #PoundCakeDay on your posts.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pound Cakes
The Mexican variation
It's called 'panqué in Mexico and the recipe is very similar to the U.S. version.
The French do it differently
It is called 'quatre-quarts,' and uses four quarters of the same four ingredients without any kind of fruit.
Germans have their own way too
The 'Eischwerkuchen' is a German recipe that is very similar to the pound cake.
Common amongst settlers
According to Beth Tartan, a culinary researcher at the University of North Carolina, pound cake was one of the most common desserts among the American pioneers who settled in the state.
Baking was once considered labor
Not until the 20th century when baking equipment and directions became simplified, was baking a cake considered easy.
Why We Love National Pound Cake Day
We get to eat delicious cakes
Pound cakes are yummy. They are sweet, moist, and dense but rather light, and can be served with fresh fruit. However, they are just as tasty eaten plain and don’t need any frosting or glaze, not even powdered sugar dusting.
We can get creative
Something about baking a pound cake brings out the creativity in us with our choice of added ingredients. A fun option to consider is orange or lemon extract. We’ve seen people add fresh orange juice and orange zest to their flour mix too. Oh, delicious!
It has a special taste
Nothing beats the taste of a pound cake! If you’re new to the goodness of pound cakes, imagine what a battered mix of butter, sugar, and flour, topped off with eggs and baked at 350°F can do to your taste buds.
National Pound Cake Day dates