A pound cake is a simple loaf cake made from equal parts flour, butter, sugar and eggs. It gets its name from the original recipe, which first appeared in English and American cookbooks in the 18th century, and which called for a pound of each of the principal ingredients.
Pound cake is often flavored with vanilla or lemon; the Brits sometimes add a bit of booze or dried fruit; the French sometimes add a swirl of chocolate. Speaking of the French, they call their version of a pound cake a quatre quarts, meaning four quarters, another way of explaining that the four main ingredients are measured in equal parts.
1 pound butter = 2 cups 1 pound sugar = about 2-1/4 cups 1 pound eggs = about 8 to 9 large 1 pound flour = 4 cups or 16 ounces
1700s - The Pound Cake is a British creation that dates back to the early 1700s.
1800s - By the mid 1800's pound cake recipes began to deviate slightly from the original formula to make a lighter cake.
1900s - Artificial leaveners (baking powder/soda) were added. Today, pound cakes use different proportions of the same ingredients as the original formula to produce a lighter cake.