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The name pound cake stems from the fact that early recipes called for one pound apiece of butter, sugar, and flour. Mary Randolph’s recipe is a delicious version of this classic treat and was adapted by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.


  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup brandy

  • Boiled Custard for serving (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan with vegetable shortening.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or in a large bowl, beating by hand, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually while continuing to beat.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in each one thoroughly before adding the next.

4. Sift the flour with the nutmeg, and gradually add to the butter and sugar, mixing in each addition thoroughly before adding the next one.

5. Add the lemon zest and brandy, mixing until thoroughly combined.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack, and allow it to cool completely before slicing.

7. Serve with Boiled Custard, if desired.

One 10-inch Bundt cake