Written by Debra Wyatt (last updated March 9, 2020)
It is easy to see why most people confuse butter and pound cakes. There are many similarities between the two cakes. However similar they are, there are differences between the two types of cakes.
Butter cakes and pound cakes are some of the more popular cakes in America. It has been the thought that the butter cake actually evolved from the pound cake; they do have a lot in common. Both the pound cake and the American butter cakes have a rich buttery taste, along with having fine crumbs. The two types of cakes also have a texture that is moist and tender. However, there is a difference between the two.
The butter cake (also known as a shortened cake or as a creamed cake) is an American classic. This cake has a richer taste than most of all the other cakes, except for the pound cake, and it does have a better volume than that of other cakes and is lighter in texture. While the pound cake has the richest flavor of all the cakes, it is also the denser of the two types of cakes.
One of the biggest differences between the two cakes is that originally the pound cake was made with a pound of each of its main ingredients. That would be a pound of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar with an addition of some type of leavening added (either baking powder or baking soda). Then a flavoring like vanilla or lemon is added to the recipe. Often times the quantity needs to be changed so that it can fit to the size of cake that is wanted. If the ratio of 1:1:1:1 of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar is maintained then it is considered to be a pound cake, even if smaller quantities are used.
The pound cake is a very versatile cake. It can be served plain or fancy; it still has a great taste. I have seen pound cakes served in a bowl with fruit as it's topping, as well as a base that is covered with a fondant.
While both butter and pound cakes are delicious, the butter cake is defiantly America's favorite. The flavor combinations that can be made from a butter cake are literally limitless. This is the cake that seems to appear most often at celebrations all decorated with frosting for whatever celebration that is going on. It is a good cake to serve at almost any occasion.
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