This tested recipe for traditional gluten free pound cake is moist and tender, dense and buttery, just like you remember. It always gets rave reviews!

Why is it called a pound cake?

A traditional pound cake is so named because it’s made with a pound of flour, a pound of butter, a pound of sugar and a pound of eggs. Even so, most of the pound cake recipes I have shared with you have called for both butter and cream cheese.

But there’s certainly something to be said for tradition. And this is precisely the sort of pound cake that is perfect for layering into a lovely warm-weather gf trifle with all sorts of colorful berries.

Pound cake on brown surface

Gluten free pound cake means tweaking the original formula

I’ve said it before, and at the risk of making you cross with me I’ll say it again: gluten free baking requires gluten free recipes. So the traditional formula for a pound cake just doesn’t work perfectly for gluten free.

This recipe in particular (unlike most recipes for pound cake) only makes 1 loaf, so it’s more like a half pound of this, a half pound of that as a starting point anyway.

Feel free to double, though, if you’re looking for 2 loaves or you’d like to make the recipe in a bundt or tube pan (just watch the baking time).

Pound cake dough in bowl with spatula

This is the best gluten free pound cake recipe you’ll try — here’s why

There’s nothing else quite like the smooth baked interior and slightly crispy, perfectly browned crust of a traditional pound cake. The crumb of a pound cake is tighter and the cake itself denser than gf vanilla cake, but not at all dry. 

Each slice of this pound cake is rich, and smooth, and reminds me so strongly of the Sara Lee pound cakes of my youth that I’ve thought about baking it in a disposable aluminum pan for the sake of nostalgia. If you’re new to baking pound cakes, you may be surprised that the loaf doesn’t have any baking powder or baking soda at all.

That’s right; this gf pound cake is leavened completely by the 9 ounces of eggs in the batter. Some recipes add about 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to help your cake rise a little higher, but when I’m making a pound cake, I want a rich, buttery, fine-crumbed loaf, just like it was meant to be!

It’s not too far off the 1:1:1:1 ratio of traditional “pound” cake, but the adjustments make it just as good made gluten free as it is made with gluten. We might have to get there a slightly different way, but we’ll get there.

Pound cake in metal loaf pan

What you need for a basic gluten free pound cake recipe

Here’s a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make this simple pound cake recipe. For full details, just scroll down to the recipe card below:

  • Butter – There’s a full pound (16 ounces) of unsalted butter in this recipe; your butter must be at room temperature (not oily, gives gently when pressed with a finger) or it won’t whip and your pound cake won’t turn out
  • Sugar – Sugar isn’t only for sweetness, particularly in this recipe, where it is a major component of the tenderness in the finished cake
  • Eggs – You’ll need 9 ounces of beaten eggs in this recipe. Begin with 4 large eggs, weigh them, then beat another egg and measure out what you need to reach 9 ounces.
  • Vanilla extract – You can use pure vanilla extract, or replace 1/2 teaspoon with almond extract for a bakery-style taste
  • Gluten free flour – You’ll need a bit less than 8 ounces of one of our recommended all purpose gluten free flour blends, but I get even better results by replacing a bit of the AP GF flour with some cornstarch to make a cake flour-style blend
  • Salt – Kosher salt is a common ingredient in baking, since it’s harder to over-measure; any semi-coarse salt will do.

Tips for making the perfect gluten free pound cake

Choosing a gluten free flour blend

Even conventional pound cakes are often made with cake flour, to create a fine crumb and a bit of extra tenderness. I like this cake best made with mostly Better Batter’s classic gluten free flour blend (82%, or 180 grams of Better Batter) and another 40 grams (or 18% of the total, by weight) cornstarch.

Properly measuring gluten free flour

You can’t measure gluten free flour accurately by volume, only by weight. The size of dry measuring cups isn’t standardized (like the size of pants!), so measuring accurately means using a simple digital kitchen scale.

Choosing a pan: loaf pan or bundt pan?

I haven’t ever made this recipe in a bundt pan, only a loaf pan. If you’d like to make a bundt cake with a pound cake-style crumb, try our recipe for gluten free marble bundt cake.

Bring your ingredients to room temperature

As always in baking, the temperature of the ingredients is very important. In a recipe this simple, it’s especially critical. The butter and eggs must be at room temperature for everything to combine properly.

If you add cold eggs to room temperature butter, the butter will clump. To bring cold eggs to room temperature, place them in a warm water bath and allow them to sit for about 15 minutes.

Cold butter can be chopped and microwaved for 10 seconds, no longer. Be sure to stop before the butter melts. If you don’t blend the ingredients properly, the butter will clump and then melt and leak out during baking.

Your batter will look weird — and then not

This batter will end up smooth, silky, and very thickly pourable. But it might not look great before you get to that point.

Once you add the eggs to the beaten butter and sugar mixture, it may look a bit curdled, but it will smooth right back out when you add the flour mixture.

Scrape your mixing bowl often for even mixing

Remember that all the ingredients in the recipe are in proper proportion, so scrape the sides of the bowl completely before you turn the batter out into the prepared loaf pan. Otherwise, you may be leaving important ingredients behind!

Let your gf pound cake cool completely before slicing

It’s tempting to slice into a warm fragrant pound cake, but sit on your hands and let it cool completely first! To enjoy warm gf pound cake, toast a thickly-cut slice and top with berries and cream. *chefskiss*

Gluten free pound cake serving suggestions

Think of pound cake as a delicious blank canvas for everything good in the world of desserts. Slice your cooled loaf of gf pound cake thickly and try topping it with any of the following:

Storing your gluten free pound cake

If you have any leftover gf pound cake (lucky you!), you can store it in a sealed container in the freezer. I don’t like storing it in the refrigerator, since it tends to become dry.

Store it sliced, or slice it after it’s frozen, since it won’t freeze solid. Refresh each slice in a toaster, or enjoy it straight from the freezer like a proper civilized person.

Gluten free vanilla pound cake substitutions

Gluten free, dairy free pound cake

The only dairy in this recipe is the unsalted butter, but it’s also the most plentiful ingredient. Replacing the butter should be possible with a very high-quality vegan butter like Melt or Miyoko’s Kitchen.

Don’t use something like Earth Balance buttery sticks or your fat will probably leak out during baking as there’s too much moisture in Earth Balance.

Can you make vegan gluten free pound cake

To make your pound cake into a vegan gf pound cake, you’ll need to replace the eggs as well as the butter (plus make sure your granulated sugar isn’t made with bone char). There are 9 full ounces of whole eggs in this recipe, and I’ve never successfully replaced that many eggs in a recipe. So sorry!

More gluten free pound cake recipes

This is the classic all butter gluten free pound cake recipe, and it’s a beauty. But it’s not the only way to make gf pound cake. Here are some other pound cake-style recipes that are worth your time:

Iced gluten free lemon pound cake

Made with a combination of butter and cream cheese, this extra rich gf lemon pound cake also has tons of fresh lemon flavor. The simple confectioners’ sugar icing on top is, well, the icing on the cake!

Rich gf chocolate pound cake

Smooth, rich, and creamy, each slice of this gluten free chocolate pound cake is a chocolate-lover’s dream. There’s an entire 3/4 cup of cocoa powder, plus melted dark chocolate in this dark delight that you don’t want to miss.

Gluten free chocolate cinnamon pound cake

For a true twist on a classic with a less rich, and more complex flavor, try our gf chocolate cinnamon pound cake. It’s one of the old favorites from Starbucks, but of course they never made it like this (this good, or gluten free, of course!).

A close up of pound cake with whip cream and fruit on white plate

FAQs

Is pound cake gluten free?

No! Regular pound cake is made with all purpose wheat-based flour. Only a gluten free pound cake like this recipe is safely gluten free.

Can I make a gluten free pound cake with almond flour?

I’m afraid not. Almond flour is great for baking, but it needs its own recipes. For an almond flour loaf cake, try our Paleo banana bread.

Can I make this gluten free pound cake recipe without a stand mixer?

Yes! You can use a handheld mixer to beat the butter, but it will just take you a bit longer.

Can I double this gluten free pound cake recipe?

Yes—if you have a large enough stand mixer. 32 tablespoons of unsalted butter is a lot for any stand mixer to beat until light and fluffy, and it’s not possible with a hand mixer, at least not all at once. To be safe, it might be best to make two loaves side by side, rather than by doubling everything at once.

Can I use a bundt pan to make a gf pound cake?

You can use a bundt pan, but you’ll need to make some adjustments. For full details on making bundt cake, see our gluten free marble bundt cake post.

Can I make a gluten free pound cake mix in advance?

Since the only dry ingredients are the gluten free flour blend and the salt, there’s really nothing to be gained from making a dry mix in advance.

How do you know when a gluten free pound cake is done baking?

When your gf pound cake is done baking, it will have domed in the center, be golden brown in color, and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean (no wet batter attached). Don’t judge simply based on the color of the loaf, since your cake will fall as it cools if it’s not baked all the way through.

How do you get a gluten free pound cake out of the pan?

Use a high quality nonstick loaf pan, grease it with butter or cooking oil spray, and then line it with parchment paper. Then, when your pound cake is done baking, let it cool in the pan, then run a thin no-scratch spatula or knife around any edges not covered by the parchment, and lift the pound cake gently out of the pan by the paper.

Why did my gluten free pound cake come out so dense?

If by dense, you mean your loaf seems to have collapsed, it probably wasn’t done baking fully to the center before it was removed from the oven. For even baking, make sure your oven temperature is accurate by using a separate oven thermometer that you’re certain is properly calibrated, and replace it often.

How long does gf pound cake stay fresh?

Pound cake has enough fat and sugar to stay quite fresh on the counter, if wrapped tightly, for 3 days. For longer storage, slice, wrap tightly, and freeze.

Classic Gluten Free Pound Cake Recipe (From Scratch)

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Classic Gluten Free Pound Cake | Basic Recipe and More

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Try this gluten free pound cake recipe to make your own version of this traditional treat. We've also got more gf pound cake recipes for you to try.
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free pound cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 1 loaf pound cake
Author Nicole Hunn

Ingredients

  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs at room temperature, beaten (See Recipe Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1.57 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend (1 cup + 9 tablespoons) (See Recipe Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your blend already contains it
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease well a standard loaf pan (about 9-inches x 5-inches, or a bit smaller) and set it aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, cream the butter on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.
  • Add the sugar, and then the eggs (slowly, while the mixer is on low speed) and vanilla, beating after each addition until well-combined. Turn the mixer speed up to medium-high, and beat until smooth.
  • In a small bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the flour mixture, about ¼ cup at a time, to the mixer bowl with the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  • The batter will be thick but soft and smooth. Scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Carefully bang the bottom of the pan a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  • Place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once during baking, until lightly golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 50 minutes).
  • Remove from the oven and place the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan and allowing to cool completely.

Notes

A note about the number of eggs.
You may need 4 or 5 eggs. The important part is to measure out 9 ounces of eggs, by weight. Just beat together 4 eggs and, if you need more, beat a 5th egg separately and add only as much as necessary to reach 9 ounces, by weight.

A note about the gf flour blend.
I really like this recipe even better when it’s made with gluten free cake flour, which is a blend of 82% all purpose gluten free flour + 18% cornstarch. In this recipe, that would be 180 grams all purpose gluten free flour + 40 grams cornstarch.

This recipe was originally published on the blog in 2013. Photos updated to showcase the true beauty of this gluten free pound cake, and the recipe modified just a bit in 2015. A lot of text added in 2022.

Gluten free pound cake raw in pan, baked whole, and sliced on a platePound cake on white plate and on brown surface

The post Classic Gluten Free Pound Cake | Basic Recipe and More appeared first on Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

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