When we first moved to Colorado I felt like I had to learn how to bake all over again. Even though I’ve lived at high altitude all my life, everything I baked came out maddeningly flatter than usual. I’d also recently joined the club of stay-at-home-motherhood, and with a tiny babe, no friends, and little knowledge of the area, I had a lot of time to fret about my kitchen failures. I read every book and blog post on high altitude cooking the library and internet could provide and tweaked and baked and fretted some more.  While time showed that altitude was not the only force working against me, a sub-par oven in our rental and my laissez faire attitude towards ingredient measuring certainly weren’t helping, I did learn a lot about baking at high altitude and collected a few recipes worth keeping. One of the recipes was this rich pound cake from Sharing Mountain Recipes. Eating this pound cake piled high with strawberry and whipped cream has become one of our Easter traditions. One I think we’ll continue for a long, long time.

High Altitude Rich Pound Cake

altered from Sharing Mountain Recipes

  • 3/4 C butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 C + 3TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 C + 2 TBSP flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Lightly grease a standard size loaf pan.
  2. Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Alternate adding eggs and flour, mixing until just incorporated with each addition. Add the extracts and mix for one minute more.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 60- 90 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. (The cake will get nice and golden and every.single.time I make it I’m sure I’m going to burn it, but patiently waiting for that clean toothpick pays off.)

Written by audrey

28 Comments

LaPinda

Thank you! Moved to Colorado at 8200 feet a few years back and have been buying cookbooks and experimenting…yours is the first cake recipe that actually worked perfect! Do you have one for a basic cake?

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Kathy Baker

Am I able to save this pound cake recipe to pinterest? It turned out beautiful. Haven’t tasted it yet but it looks terrific. We are over 8000 feet in Estes Park so I followed your directions religiously but also added the extra egg and the extra tbsp of flour.

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audrey

I hope it tasted great. The “pin it” option was disabled, but I just renenabled it on the bottom of the page.

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Kathy

The pound cake tasted amazing. I followed your directions but added the extra egg and flour. Thanks so much. I’ll be using it forever.

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Kelly

Delicious pound cake! Came out perfect at 7,000 feet. Easy recipe, too. Thank you.

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Nancy Morgan

I have a recipe I was planning to make for Easter, it is from Domenica Marchetti, and it is for a Vin Santo poundcake. I found your recipe while trying to figure out how to adjust a pound cake for high altitude (5280 feet in Albuquerque). If I were to use a tube pan as she does, and I double up on your ingredient list, it is virtually identical to her recipe as she wrote it, except for one important difference. Her recipe calls for 1/3 of a cup of Vin Santo, an Italian dessert wine. I am wondering if you think It would work If I added that. I love a good pound cake, but really, the Vin Santo was the whole reason for choosing this recipe at all, as it is something that my partner and I both enjoy very much. Thank you.

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audrey

That’s a good question. I actually have very little experience using wine in baked goods. Often with high altitude you increase the liquid to compensate for the dry air so it probably won’t effect the recipe much (plus it boils off). I say give your recipe a whirl! I hope it turns out!

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audrey

The recipe has worked for us up to 8000 feet, so I would bet it would work without adjustments at 9000. If you’re really worried though, you could add an extra tablespoon of flour. The size of the eggs also makes a difference (it assists with leavening), make sure you’re using large or extra large or add an extra egg if they’re medium or smaller. Good luck!

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Nancy Morgan

Hi Audrey, just wanted to let you know that following pretty much your proportions, and adding the 1/3 of a cup of Vin Santo to the cake, made for a perfect and very delicious recipe. I just left it in the oven at the temperature you suggested, corrected for my partner’s convection oven, until it was done, it was golden brown, it wasn’t burnt, even though it had been in the oven for probably at least the maximum time recommended by the other recipe (I had actually doubled the recipe up from what yours is, and I don’t remember exactly how long it took for it to cook because I kept going back to check on it periodically). Anyway, it is delicious cake that will most likely become an Easter tradition. I really appreciated your thoughts on the matter, I had kind of decided to try it anyway, but I felt better once I saw your reply to me saying, why don’t you give it a whirl?

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Faye Park

I’m in Denver. This cake is delicious, but it collapsed after I took it out of the oven. Any suggestions?

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audrey

Hi, Faye! I live in the Denver area as well. There’s a couple of possibilities for why it could have fallen. One possibility is that you underbaked it, which is the only experience I’ve personally had to make this particular cake fall. The other two possibilities are you didn’t mix the batter enough (make sure you really cream the butter and sugar and completely mix in the eggs) or you needed a tad bit more flour (try an extra 1/2- full tablespoon). Glad you enjoyed it and hope you give it another go to iron out the wrinkles of the final product.

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Michelle

Or, it will also fall if there is any jar-ing/vibrations around it while it is baking. (Or at least regular pound cakes will do this)

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Michelle

My family always received multiple warnings when a pound cake was being put in the oven — “don’t bump around in here! There’s a pound cake in the oven!”

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audrey

I haven’t tried it yet myself, but if you have a standard bundt pan (12 cup capacity) I think it could easily be pulled off. Just be careful not to overfill (leave about 1/2″ gap from top of cake to top of pan prior to baking). Also, be prepared to cook it a little longer than this recipe instructs. Good luck!

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Spencer

6,969′ here in taos and it worked great! Did a lemon-pepper variation with a strawberry topping. Limonciello and a touch of fresh ground pepper in the strawberry syrup. Soak/strain some citrus flavored cannabis in the limonciello before making the sauce as a great way to disguise the herb flavor as well as moderate dosage when you want to have your cake and eat… the whole thing, too

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Gale

I’m at exactly 7,000 ft and it worked perfectly! Cooked it on convection setting and used the entire 90 minutes and it turned out beautifully!

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Nancy

I baked this exactly as noted in the recipe – I live in Denver at 5280 feet.

Baked for one hour at 325 and it was hard as a rock. Total hockey puck. Why??? I don’t understand.

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audrey

Sorry to hear that! It’s hard to diagnose without being there, but some possibilities include over baking (since you baked it for the shortest time this one seems unlikely) or problems with mixing (potentially over mixing).

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Gabriela

Hi, I made this recipe today and it was perfect, I live in Mexico city.
I was wondering what if I want to use Stevia instead of sugar, do I have to modify something?
Thanks in advance.

Reply

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