Why is Pound Cake Called Pound Cake?

Pound cake is one of those iconic desserts that consumers simply can’t turn down. With a beautifully dense yet surprisingly tender texture and a yummy vanilla cake flavor, it’s simply a knockout treat to finish off any dinner. But why on earth is it called pound cake?

Pound cake is called pound cake because of the ingredients used to create it. The “basic” and “original” recipe for pound cake consisted of a pound of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. Today, you will find other ingredients, but it won’t change the name of the cake.

Hi there, cake bakers and cake lovers! My name’s Michelle and I’m just as obsessed with pound cake as you are. There is something irresistible about this moist and scrumptious cake. In fact, it tastes so amazing and it’s hard to believe it comes from such a simple recipe.

Do you want to know why pound cake is called pound cake? Read on!

Why is Pound Cake Called Pound Cake?

“Pound cake” is an odd name for a cake, especially one that’s so moist and surprisingly delicate. 

What gives?

The fact of the matter is pound cake was given the name “pound cake” because of the original ingredients used to make the cake: a pound of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. The simplistic recipe was an instant hit. 

Back in the 1700s, simpler recipes were a hit and could spread like wildfire. So, when word of the “pound cake” came around, it stuck. All a baker needed to do was combine a pound of each of these four ingredients, and they’d be set. 

Since then, there have been many variations to the traditional pound cake. For instance, some may add flavors like vanilla or lemon or additions like toasted coconut or pecans. Regardless, the name remains the same: pound cake.

A Few Myths About the Name “Pound Cake”

While we’re here, I wanted to take a moment to dispel any rumors that might be floating around about the namesake of pound cake. 

One common belief is that pound cake is given the name “pound cake” because it packs on the pound. And yes, that’s true – eating oodles of pound cake may lead to some weight gain, albeit quite tempting and worth every bite.

Another misconstrued thought process is that some type of pounding is involved in making this recipe. But have no fear – you don’t need to have any martial arts training or a pair of boxing gloves to make a delicious pound cake. All you need is four ingredients and a bit of time.

Lastly, many are under the impression that pound cake is named pound cake because it weighs a pound. This is simply not true. In fact, a pound cake weighs several pounds (typically four or more, depending on any added ingredients).


As you can see, there’s nothing crazy or outlandish about how pound cake got its name. It all comes down to the ingredient list. Oh, but hey, before you leave, I encourage you to check out these frequently asked questions – asked by readers just like you!

Is a pound cake supposed to weigh a pound?

A pound cake is not supposed to weigh a pound – and it likely wouldn’t even be possible. This is simply a myth, as many people believe the cake got its name from only weighing a pound. This is not the case, though, as most pound cakes weigh four pounds (or more, depending on any additional ingredients used).

What does LB mean in a cake?

LB is an abbreviation for pound. So, if someone discusses ingredients using lbs, they’re talking about pounds. For instance, if the recipe says you need 1 lb of butter, they mean one pound of butter. If they’re referring to an LB cake, they may be talking about the pound cake.

What is pound cake called in the UK?

The famous pound cake isn’t always referred to as a pound cake, especially outside of the United States. In the United Kingdom, pound cakes can also be referred to as “sponge cakes” or “Madeira cakes,” so keep that in mind during your next exploration of the UK.

Pound Cakes Have Their Name For a Distinct Reason!

Although pound cake might be a funny name for a moist and tender dessert, there’s an apparent reason it was named that name – for the pounds of ingredients used to make it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the weight of the cake, the pounds you might put into eating it, or the way that it’s mixed or baked.

Do you enjoy pound cake? Did you know where pound cake got its name from? Do you make pound cake regularly? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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