Everything you need to know about pound cake in time for holiday baking

Oct 27, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Image: 4kodiak/E+/Getty Images

It's moist. It's sweet. It's the perfect thing to eat alongside a steamy mug of tea or hot chocolate. It's pound cake!

Pound cake is delicious year-round, but it's an especially versatile cake for the holidays. Mini loaves make perfect gifts at the office, and some of the more elaborate numbers are just the thing to add to a holiday party dessert table or a lavish Christmas brunch. With the five facts below (and some recipes, of course), you'll really wow your friends and family this holiday season.

1. Its recipe is in its name.

Pound cake is known as such because the original recipe called for a pound of flour, a pound of butter, a pound of sugar and a pound of eggs. Try some basic pound cakes: easy pound cake, old-fashioned pound cake.

2. It's older than our country.

Starbucks lemon loaf cake

The first printed mention of pound cake was in 1740, decades before our forefathers would sign the Declaration of Independence. Try some American pound cakes: cream cheese pound cake, copycat Starbucks lemon loaf cake.

3. Some of the oldest variations feature citrus and alcohol.

Lemon, oranges, wine and brandy are all additions that were sometimes added to the earliest versions of the cake. Come to think of it, all those flavors are perfect for holiday baking! Try these holiday favorites:

Peekaboo pumpkin pound cake

Peekaboo pumpkin pound cake

Spicy gingerbread loaf cake

Spicy gingerbread loaf cake

Olive oil pound cake with lemon-cayenne glaze

Olive oil pound cake with lemon-cayenne glaze

4. It's internationally loved.

Pound cake goes by many names: sponge cake in England, queque seco in Spain, sandkuchen in Germany and gâteau quatre-quarts in France. Try some internationally flavored pound cakes: cinnamon streusel pound cake, German chocolate pound cake, Grandma Ingrid's sponge cake.

5. The original recipe makes wayyyy more than we're used to.

Chocolate pound cakes

The original recipe makes 4 pounds of batter, which gets even bigger after baking — and would fill a standard loaf pan almost twice over! Today's recipes rely on the same ration but have scaled things down to be friendly to the modern kitchen. Try some mini pound cakes: individual chocolate pound cakes.

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