Skip Nav
Wedding Decor
More and More Couples Are Saying "Thank U, Next" to Wedding Cake — 2019 Is All About Doughnuts
Vlasic Pickle Chips
Food News
Pickle Chips Made of Actual Pickles Are in the Works, and We Can Already Hear the Crunch
Baby Showers
Hold the Liquor, Please — These 50+ Mocktails Are Tasty Enough Without It
The Connection Between Taste and Memory
Personal Essay
Why This 1 Dish Always Reminds Me of My Grandma — the Science Behind Taste Memory
What Is Ginger Beer?
Drinks
Love Ginger Beer but Have No Idea What's in It? We've Got Answers

Origin of Pound Cake

How Did Pound Cake Get Its Name?

I love pound cake, and ever since I've been old enough to eat it, I've wondered: where did it get that name?

In my childhood I speculated if it weighed a pound, or whether it would cause me to put on a pound or two. But that's actually not where the name comes from. Pound cake, which originated in Europe in the first half of the 18th century, initially weighed four pounds. That's because it called for a pound of each of four ingredients — flour, butter, eggs, and sugar — hence the name.

The recipe produced something far larger than what a modern-day family would consume — an amount over twice the volume of most loaf pans. Traditional recipes, therefore, preserve the simple ratio, but serve a much smaller quantity than the original recipe; in contemporary times, most have modified the recipe for a lighter, richer dessert with a prominent butter flavor. In France, where some argue the pound cake originated, the name of the original cake has stuck as well. There, it's called quatre-quarts, or "four quarts," a quart referring to a pound.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
Latest Recipes, Menus, Food & Wine
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds