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This old-fashioned Southern Sour Cream Pound Cake is a simple and easy dessert recipe that comes together with just a handful of basic pantry staples. The end result is a classic buttery cake with a moist crumb and a beautiful golden brown exterior. Add fresh berries and whipped cream for a treat that’s perfect for any occasion!

Slice of sour cream pound cake on a blue and white plate with fresh berries

Few desserts are more classically Southern than a Sour Cream Pound Cake! Every home cook should have a delicious and easy go-to cake recipe that she can always turn to when hosting a party or serving a special Sunday supper, and this moist sour cream cake always delivers. It has that crisp exterior and soft, buttery crumb that we all know and love, maintaining the dense pound cake texture without feeling dry or crumbly. Simple dessert perfection!

What is Sour Cream Pound Cake?

Old-fashioned Southern Sour Cream Pound Cake is a moist, dense cake with a rich, smooth buttery inside and a crisp, golden brown crust. It’s traditionally prepared in a Bundt pan or tube pan, but can also be baked in a loaf pan. While a simple dusting of powdered sugar is a classic finish, some versions also include a glaze on top. One bite and you’ll instantly taste the subtly sweet vanilla butter cake that pairs so beautifully with whipped cream or fresh berries!

The History of this Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Pound Cake:

I originally came across this recipe when I was browsing through a historical cookbook in our county’s local library. What a treasure! The cookbook was pulled together back in 1992 by residents of Madison County, Virginia in honor of our 200th anniversary.

This particular cake was called “Rebel Cake” (I assume that was a way of indicating that it was a classically Southern recipe), but it’s really just a traditional sour cream pound cake. The recipe was submitted by Virginia Thompson and attributed to Mrs. Sudie Melton Dawson, who lived her entire life (1867-1941) in Rochelle (where we live now). Ms. Dawson helped rear her nephews, Claude and Erhert Yager, who ran the Yager Bros. Store here on our property (long before we bought our house). The old general store building sits at the front of our property (closer to the road), and is now used for storage, Keith’s office, and a play area for the boys.

I love the story behind this recipe, as it’s a tie to our 100-year-old farmhouse’s history and the families who lived here before us. More importantly, at a time when I was stuck at home and couldn’t get to the grocery store, this simple recipe saved the day! I was able to prepare a special Easter Sunday dessert with the ingredients already in my kitchen — thanks to Mrs. Dawson’s original recipe. I hope that you’ll give it a try and enjoy a little taste of our local Virginia history as well!

Front shot of a sliced southern pound cake

How to make a Sour Cream Pound Cake from Scratch:

The moist sour cream Bundt cake comes together in just 3 easy steps! Let’s get started…

Ingredients:

  • Salted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • Sour cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flour
  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar
  • Salt
  • Powdered sugar (for garnish)

What does sour cream do to a cake?

The sour cream is an important ingredient in this cake, thanks to its high fat content and its acidity. The sour cream adds moisture without thinning the batter, adds fat for creaminess, helps to control the browning, and activates the baking soda.

Step 1: Cream together the Wet Ingredients

Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs (one at a time), and then stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract.

Mixing wet ingredients for sour cream pound cake

Step 2: Add the Dry Ingredients

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt, and then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

Step 3: Bake

Transfer the batter to a well-greased and floured Bundt pan or tube pan and bake the cake in a 325 degree F oven for about 70-80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sour cream pound cake batter in a Bundt pan

How to serve Sour Cream Pound Cake:

This pound cake is perfect when dusted with powdered sugar and garnished with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or fresh berries. For a real treat, I love to top it with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream! You can also add a sprig of fresh mint for a fresh green touch, if you like.

Overhead image of two slices of pound cake on blue and white plates with berries

Preparation and Storage Tips:

  • The pound cake will stay fresh when covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cake does not need to be refrigerated. You can also wrap the cake and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To extend the life of your cake, wrap it tightly and freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • How to store Sour Cream Pound Cake: For the refrigerator or countertop, you can just wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap. For the freezer, I recommend a layer of plastic wrap, followed by another layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
Fork digging into a slice of sour cream pound cake

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • Sour Cream Pound Cake Glaze: I keep it simple with a dusting of powdered sugar, but you can also finish your cake with a glaze (which is just a combination of powdered sugar and milk). You can start with 1 tablespoon of milk whisked with 2/3 cup of powdered sugar, and then add more milk to thin the glaze as necessary. The glaze should be thin enough to drizzle over the cake, but not too runny. To thicken the glaze, add more powdered sugar. You really can’t screw it up!
  • Can I make a Bundt cake in a regular pan? Yes. If you don’t have a Bundt pan or a tube pan, you can typically use 2 loaf pans. The volume of batter should also fit in either two 9-inch round cake pans or in one 9 x 13-inch pan. I haven’t tested this particular recipe in anything other than a Bundt pan, though, so try it at your own risk.
  • Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake: You can add great lemon flavor to this cake with just a few simple additions. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest. For an even stronger lemon flavor, add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract as well. You can finish the lemon cake with a lemon glaze by using 2/3 cup of powdered sugar whisked with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (thinning with more lemon juice, as necessary).
Slice of old fashioned sour cream pound cake on a plate with fresh berries

More Southern cake recipes that you might enjoy:

Slice of sour cream pound cake on a blue and white plate with fresh berries

Sour Cream Pound Cake

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 322.1 kcal
This old-fashioned Southern Sour Cream Pound Cake is a simple and easy dessert recipe that comes together with just a handful of basic pantry staples!

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan and dust with flour.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Gradually add to the batter and mix just until combined.
  • Transfer to the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 70-80 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cake is cool, dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Notes

  • Sour Cream Pound Cake Glaze: I keep it simple with a dusting of powdered sugar, but you can also finish your cake with a simple glaze (which is just a combination of powdered sugar and milk). You can start with 1 tablespoon of milk whisked with 2/3 cup of powdered sugar, and then add more milk to thin the glaze as necessary. The glaze should be thin enough to drizzle over the cake, but not too runny. To thicken the glaze, add more powdered sugar. You really can’t screw it up!
  • Can I make a Bundt cake in a regular pan? Yes. If you don’t have a Bundt pan or a tube pan, you can typically use 2 loaf pans. The volume of batter should also fit in either two 9-inch round cake pans or in one 9 x 13-inch pan. I haven’t tested this particular recipe in anything other than a Bundt pan, though, so try it at your own risk.
  • Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake: You can add great lemon flavor to this cake with just a few simple additions. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest. For an even stronger lemon flavor, add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract as well. You can finish the lemon cake with a lemon glaze by using 2/3 cup of powdered sugar whisked with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (thinning with more lemon juice, as necessary).

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 322.1kcalCarbohydrates: 42.9gProtein: 4.1gFat: 15.4gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 4.2gCholesterol: 72.2mgSodium: 199mgPotassium: 98.1mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 26.2g
Keyword: Sour Cream Cake, Sour Cream Pound Cake, Southern Sour Cream Pound Cake
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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