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slices of pound cake with strawberry compote topping

Pound cake has never really been one of my favorite desserts to eat, but it’s one of my top 5 desserts to make and serve. The main reason being– it’s easy. Only a few staple ingredients beaten together and thrown into the oven. It’s also super versatile in that it’s the perfect canvas for layering different toppings, glazes, or ice cream– so no one even realizes I’m making the same thing all the time.

(Dessert tricks!!)

But, like I said, it’s just not my favorite dessert to eat. To me, pound cake has always been a little bland and a lot boring. I’d much rather dig into a slice of apple pie or a lemon cupcake. Anything tastes incredible under a stream of salted caramel or chocolate sauce, but it’s been my goal to make a wonderfully rich pound cake that’s not only full of flavor, but tastes absolutely exquisite on its own. And even better with something as humble as strawberry compote.

slices of brown butter pound cake topped with strawberry compote

To get there, I played around in the kitchen for a few months. Every other week or so, I’d try tweaking my standard pound cake recipe with different techniques and flavors. The minute I smelled the brown butter version, I knew I had one of the best on my hands. It has a moist, velvety texture with a super dense and buttery crumb. The flavor is a dream.

First, do you know how pound cake got its name? Original pound cake recipes call for one pound of each: butter, sugar, eggs, & flour. And not much else. Recipes today are a little different, but the results are generally the same!

Let’s Upgrade the Butter

The first thing I looked at was the butter. Obviously pound cake gets most of its flavor and texture from this glorious ingredient. I tested different amounts, but it wasn’t until I decided to change the flavor of butter that I was satisfied. If you’ve ever used brown butter in a dessert before, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a powerful little ingredient that can transform a good cookie into a “this is the best cookie I’ve ever had in my life” phenomenon. And that’s not an exaggeration; it’s magic. When we brown butter, we cook out all of the water. The milk solids toast, which creates this completely mouthwatering nutty aroma and unique flavor.

Here’s my complete brown butter tutorial.

brown butter in a skillet with a wood spoon

One crucial step in making pound cake is creaming the butter and sugar. Brown butter is melted butter and you can’t really cream melted butter and sugar. Beating the two together will indeed create air bubbles, but they will quickly deflate. That’s not the batter base you want here. So we’re going to chill the brown butter. Chill it until it becomes solid and then treat it like you would regular butter. Let it soften to room temperature again. Sounds like an awful long time, but I chilled the brown butter in the freezer for only 45 minutes and took it out to soften for 15. Takes an hour, which is about how long regular butter takes to soften. More dessert tricks!

Let’s also take a look at the eggs. Room temperature eggs are key, so they (1) will not harden the butter when they’re added and (2) mix together smoothly. Make sure you add the eggs one at a time. Remember those air bubbles I just talked about? You don’t want them to collapse in the egg step either, so you’ll want to gradually beat them in. The air bubbles will expand as the cake bakes, which allows it to rise up (and not sink). Eggs are one of the most important ingredients in pound cake because they not only provide moisture and richness, they give the cake its structure. I suggest using high quality eggs because they aren’t just any other ingredient you’re throwing in. They’re crucial. And there are 4 of them.

See all the specks in the batter? Those are the toasty brown butter bits. F-l-a-v-o-r.

pound cake batter in a glass bowl

sliced brown butter pound cake

One quick note before I get to the strawberry compote. (so good!!!) I add a teeny tiny amount of baking powder to my pound cake. Traditionally, pound cake is made without any chemical leavener, but since creaming brown butter doesn’t produce quite as much volume as regular (un-browned) butter would, I make up for it with a little baking powder. It just gives the cake a little extra lift in the right direction.

overhead image of strawberry compote in a glass bowl with a wood spoon and a saucepan

Ahhh, the strawberry compote. Love this stuff. It’s completely optional because the brown butter pound cake is pretty epic on its own, but I highly suggest serving some compote alongside. And strawberries are finally back in season, so you just have to.

Making it is actually really easy. Like a chunky strawberry syrup, but it’s made completely from scratch and isn’t cloyingly sweet like most store-bought stuff. You’ll need fresh strawberries, a squeeze and zest of lemon to offset some sweetness, sugar, and cornstarch (mixed with water) for thickening. Let it simmer on the stove for a few minutes and you’re done. I usually make the compote in advance because it will need some time to thicken once removed from heat.

PS: this stuff is ridiculously good spooned over cold, creamy greek yogurt in the morning. Or on top of waffles, ice cream, oatmeal, french toast, and funfetti angel food cake. (aka party in a cake pan!)

2 slices of brown butter pound cake on a white plate topped with strawberry compote

This brown butter pound cake will stand the test of time in my recipe repertoire. You’ll not only love the brown butter flavor, you’ll appreciate the spot-on texture as well. Dense without tasting too heavy, golden brown, and impeccably rich. Try it!

Click here to PIN this recipe for later!

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2 slices of brown butter pound cake on a white plate topped with strawberry compote

Brown Butter Pound Cake with Strawberry Compote

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 810 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


You won’t BELIEVE the flavor in this simple brown butter pound cake. Top with homemade strawberry compote for one of the best desserts ever!


  • 1 cup (230g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Strawberry Compote

  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced in half (you can use frozen; don’t thaw)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar


  1. Brown the butter: Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning– you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. See photo above for a visual. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and pour into a large tupperware or a 9×13 baking pan. Cover tightly, place in the refrigerator or freezer, and chill until solid. I always place mine in the freezer. It only takes about 45 minutes this way.
  2. Remove the brown butter from the refrigerator or freezer and allow to slightly soften on the counter for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  4. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  5. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the solid brown butter on high speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat everything just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, 10 minutes. Pound cakes are dense and, therefore, take awhile in the oven. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  7. Make the strawberry compote: Whisk the cornstarch and water together until all the cornstarch has dissolved. Add it, along with the rest of the compote ingredients, to a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the mixture as it cooks. Break up some of the strawberries as you stir. Bring it to a simmer and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
  8. Spoon cooled compote over pound cake. Cover and store leftover compote in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the pound cake ahead of time by freezing it. Bake it, cool it, wrap it up in aluminum foil and freeze the loaf as a whole. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Freezes well up to 3 months. You can also brown the butter ahead of time too– keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days then continue with step 2. You can make the strawberry compote a few days ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Compote: Makes about 2 cups!

Keywords: brown butter pound cake

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally, could I possibly use frozen strawberries for this and thaw them?  Do you think this would work?

  2. Hi Sally, do you include the browned specks (from the browned butter) or discard it (like straining through a sieve) before using/chilling?

  3. Alright…so, brown butter. I see the brown specks in your visual, but the liquid part is still that yellowy-translucent tone. Do you wait until the liquid is brown too, or stop when the specks form on the bottom of the pan? 

    I have a feeling I have been making burnt butter instead of brown butter based upon your picture. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. 

    1. When you swirl the butter, those specks mix into the yellow portion– so the whole mixture looks brown. (And you should be stirring as you brown it, so you can tell!) And that’s when you want to remove it from heat. Your butter may have been burnt. Does it smell burnt? Can you remember? Glad this helped!

  4. Just pulled this out of the oven smells awesome and I can’t wait to taste it . I also have a recipe that I make of chocolate chunk cookies that are made with melted browned butter. I have to make those constantly and send to my daughters friends in college for the past four years . Just the smell of browned butter takes me over the edge. Thanks for sharing this one and keep them coming yum !! 

  5. Hi Sally, I love your blog and have tried many of your recipes – each and every one of them turning into delicious treats! I have a question: Could you make the pound cake as a muffin, using muffin pans? Thanks a lot!

    1. Oh for sure! I’d say the bake time is about 20 minutes or so. Unsure exactly how many it will make. Let me know how it goes!

  6. When I saw this recipe I knew I needed to make this and I’m so glad I did. I followed your directions exactly and everything seemed to come out wonderfully. The only discrepancy I had was my bread was done after 40 minutes and I had to cover it loosely with foil about halfway through. My oven isn’t very old and I have found it tends to run just a little on the warm side. The next trip to the store I will get a temperature gauge for it. Despite that, my house smelled incredible!!! I couldn’t wait to eat this!!! Thank You for this great recipe!!!

  7. Um all I can say is WOW!!! I made this today to freeze ahead for Mother’s Day but had to sneak a little piece to try and I was blown away! Never knew I would love a pound cake so much but it’s the browned butter which really does it. Btw how do u think browned butter would taste in a buttercream frosting? 

  8. I made this for dinner tonight and have to say, wow! Toasting the butter added a beautiful dimension to the pound cake. I have made quite a number of your recipes, but this one deserved a special thank you for sharing.

  9. Hi Sally,
    I made this this afternoon to use up the rest of the butter i’d browned to make your choc chip cookies (that got filled with was not a weekend for the diet…). It was so delicious and rich, and the edges were so crunchy! 

    I can’t get enough of lemon blueberry so I added some lemon zest  and served with lemon curd swirled Greek yoghurt and blueberry/earl grey compote but I think strawberry/strawberry rhubarb actually would have been better! Oh well, next time! 

    I also halved the recipe for a big cupcake and a mini loaf tin and it still worked perfectly! Baked for 25 mins. 

    Have a nice week!  

  10. Hi Sally, I was wondering how you think this would come out if I just used butter instead of brown butter? My mom asked for classic pound cake for her birthday and I can’t decide on a recipe. If you had one I would just use yours 😉 Anyway, I can imagine the brown butter in this is AMAZING and hopefully I’ll try it some time, but since my mom requested classic, what do you think? Thanks!

    1. It would still be quite tasty. This is my favorite pound cake, brown butter or not! You can simply use softened regular butter instead.

  11. I’ve made this into one of my usual bake goods! It’s become onea of my dad’s favorite and I make it for him every once in a while! Perfect recipe! 🙂

  12. Question – Can you double the recipe – I need two cakes as I am serving 18 people – or should I do each cake separately?

  13. Hi Sally!
    Any suggestions on how to double/triple this recipe for a 13×9 pan? If not, do you have any bigger scale recipes for pound cake that would work?

  14. I made this cake today for a family picnic. It turned out beautifully- I did follow the recipe exactly as it says, and watched it closely in the oven, as it’s the first time I’m baking a pound cake. I used a 11×5 inch loaf pan, and needed 55minutes in the oven. All ingredients were at room temperature. Thanks for a great recipe!

  15. Sally, I want to use your brown butter pound cake recipe for a nude layer cake.

    Will this recipe translate to 2 round cake pans?
    Do I need to adjust the temp/time?
    I’ll double the batch for 4 layers total.

    I’d love to make with berries and whipped cream as the icing between the layers.
    Like a strawberry shortcake.
    But afraid the whipped cream be too fragile to cut. should I go cream cheese icing or buttercream instead?
    Help…..Baby shower this weekend! xoxo

    1. Hi Victoria! I just realized I had missed your question last week. My apologies. This recipe isn’t enough for 2 9-inch cake pans. If you’re looking for a nude layer cake, I recommend my vanilla naked cake. You can add berries between the layers or even fill with this strawberry filling!

  16. Sally thank you so much for such an amazing recipe. I have made this recipe for my husband and when my boys came to visit they both made me make them both a couple to take home. I thought pound cake was plain but the browned butter really gives it such great flavor. It is even better with the strawberry compote. If you don’t have any strawberries don’t worry the richness of the pound cake is enough. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  17. I used a 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp baking powder for leavening, and I used 100g granulated sugar, 50g maple sugar, and 50g brown sugar. It came out really well, though maybe a tad too moist (my fault for the sugar substitutes, which add moisture). It was perfect the next day though, so thanks for this recipe! You can still smell the browned butter even after baking, and it’s delicious. I’m going to make it again with the same substitutes, but this time with pecans inside to add that bit of crunchiness 🙂

  18. Hey sally! Browning the butter reduces the quantity of the butter. So is supposed to be 230g of butter after Browning or should it be 230g of butter before browning?

  19. I am having dinner with my friends, and I signed up for the dessert. I needed something I could made a couple of days before. This was delicious! The best pound cake I have ever made. It paired well with a fall compote.

    1. Hi Kemorie! It will be a shorter Bundt cake, but yes it would fit. I’m unsure of the exact bake time in a bundt.

  20. I used frozen whole strawberries to make just the compote, which I used to top your cheesecake recipe. Super simple and really good. I’ve tried other recipes that had more ingredients and ended up with weird after tastes. Definitely a keeper!

  21. Hi Sally, I’m making mini cheesecakes and want a strawberry topping on them. Do you think I should make your strawberry sauce or compote? I would like the texture to be similar to canned pie filling you get at the store.

  22. I loved the brown butter. Easy recipe but I found it to taste a bit dry. Great aroma and taste. Sauce was superb ! Thanks

  23. Hi Sally,

    Can I use the strawberry compote as a layer between your vanilla cake recipe?

    Love your recipes by the way, easy to follow and the videos you do with them is really helpful. My new favorite baking website.

    Thank you.


    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Lynn! Yes you can use the compote between layers. However, I still like to put down a thin layer of buttercream so that the layers don’t slide. You may also wish to pipe a thicker ring around the outer edge of your layer to keep the filling from leaking out the sides.

  24. I found the cake a little to dry for my liking… Probably adding a quarter cup of milk will make it moist…

  25. Ok I made it! Added a quarter cup of whole milk as felt that the batter was a little dry-it was divine-the brown butter makes a world of difference!! will definitely go into my fav cakes!

  26. I would like to make this, but am wondering can it be made in mini loaf pans? That way, it will be easy for me to share. A big loaf is way too much for j7st me.

    1. Hi Sheila, we can’t see why not. We’re unsure of the exact bake time — but keep a close eye on them and use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  27. Definitely the tastiest pound cake I’ve ever had! The little bit of lemon in the compote gives it a subtle freshness that’s sooo good. This is a great way to jazz up a simple dessert without a ton of effort! Thank you!

  28. I made this today (inspired by the monthly baking challenge) with the strawberry compote and it was amazing! I’ve never made a pound cake before but this was so good (my fiancé said it was the best desert I’ve made). Definitely going to make this again sometime!

  29. My mother and me are going to try this out. She’s making the compote for hers but I need a glaze that I can add on as I share most of my bakes. Compote would be hard to share.

    Do you have a tried and true strawberry glaze that could be added onto the cake and stored that way? Thanks. And seriously thanks. I’ve baked so many of your things. You taught me to bake and It’s a hobby that has added so much value to my life.

    1. Hi J, absolutely — how about the strawberry glaze from our Berry Fritters? Or for a thicker glaze / frosting, you could use the strawberry frosting from our Strawberry Frosted Donuts. We really appreciate your kind note and that you have enjoyed so many of our recipes — hope you and your mother enjoy this one, too!

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