11 Simple Loaf Cake Recipes

Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
Photo: © Phoebe Lapine

Loaf cakes are decidedly less show-stopping than their layer-cake counterparts, but that certainly doesn't make them less delicious. Yes, they lack goopy fillings and fluffy icings, but their beauty lies in their simplicity — and ease of preparation. They're quick to make and a breeze to transport, plus perfect to share at any time of day. And while they're superb in their naked state, we won't stop you from serving yours with a fruit compote or a scoop of ice cream. From classic pound cake to a fragrant fall-spiced yam loaf, here are our favorite loaf cake recipes.

01 of 11

Jacques Pépin's Favorite Pound Cake

Jacques Pépin's Favorite Pound Cake
© Edward Pond

This is the fundamental loaf that started it all. The French call pound cake quatre-quarts ("four-fourths") because the original was made with equal parts flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. Jacques Pépin's mother, aunt, and cousin all have their versions. He likes to fold in candied citrus peels to make a French fruit cake; he also loves plain slices dipped in espresso.

02 of 11

Orange-Scented Buttermilk Cake Loaves

HD-201212-r-orange-scented-buttermilk-cake-loaves.jpg
© MICHAEL TUREK

The solution to baking for 20 is to stick with easy desserts like this golden loaf cake, which can be made a day in advance. Butter, tangy sour cream, and buttermilk provide moisture and gentle flavor, which is enhanced by just a touch of orange zest, vanilla, and cinnamon. Enjoy it unadorned or dress it up with fruit and whipped cream.

03 of 11

Chocolate Marble Pound Cake

Chocolate Marble Pound Cake
© DANA GALLAGHER

This loaf's beautifully swirled marriage of classic chocolate and vanilla pound cake pairs perfectly with coffee, no matter the time of day. The cake can be wrapped in foil and refrigerated for one week or frozen for up to two months.

04 of 11

Matcha Pound Cake with Almond Glaze

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© MOLLY YEH

For this recipe, blogger Molly Yeh combines toasty matcha green tea with a sweet almond glaze to make a delicious, moist loaf that begs to be sliced.

05 of 11

Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake

Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
© Phoebe Lapine

This classic British loaf cake is incredibly moist because it's made with olive oil instead of butter, which also gives the batter a rich golden color. The addition of poppy seeds makes it a perfect alternative to your morning muffin, while the lemon drizzle dresses up the cake for company.

06 of 11

Cheddar Cheese Pound Cake with Brandy Caramel Apples

Cheddar Cheese Pound Cake with Caramelized Apples
Photo by Sarah Crowder / Food Styling by Chandra Ram

This pound cake gets a bit of a savory edge from the mellow cheddar cheese mixed into the batter and sprinkled on top. It's excellent with afternoon coffee or tea on its own, but the Brandy Caramel Apples move it clearly into dessert territory (add a scoop of ice cream to take it over the top).

07 of 11

Lemon Blueberry Cake with Lemon Zest Glaze

Blueberry Lemon Cake Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

This one-bowl loaf cake is exceptionally easy to make. Since the batter calls for oil instead of butter, there's no need for a creaming step — just quickly beat together the ingredients until smooth, then fold in the blueberries.

08 of 11

Honey Cake

Honey Cake Recipe
Victor Protasio

This gluten-free loaf was inspired by German cake recipes from a 13th-century cookbook. With its malty, molasses notes, buckwheat honey gives the cake its signature flavor. Serve it with a smear of creamy mascarpone cheese and an extra drizzle of honey.

09 of 11

Yam Cake

Yam Cake
Justin Chapple / Food & Wine

Our yam loaf is spiced with both fresh and ground ginger, as well as cinnamon and a little freshly ground pepper. A tangy cream cheese glaze provides the perfect complement for this autumn treat.

10 of 11

Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake

Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake
© Alexandra Grablewski. Cake Keeper Cakes

This pound cake is made especially rich by swirling in the chocolate-hazelnut spread Nutella. Serve it with coffee ice cream for an extra-special treat.

11 of 11

Graham Cracker Pound Cake

Graham Cracker Pound Cake
© Lucy Schaeffer

This clever and unique cake has crushed graham crackers folded into the batter. It's wonderful to eat plain, but Kansas City pastry chef Megan Garrelts serves hers with sage-glazed figs and spiced walnut gelato.

Updated by
Maria Yagoda
Portrait of Maria Yagoda

Maria Yagoda is a senior editor at Food & Wine, where she has worked for five years, specializing in restaurant and travel coverage.

Her writing on food, culture, travel, and health issues have been published in People Magazine, the Atlantic, Glamour Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and more print and digital publications.

She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her chihuahua, Bucatina.

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