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Cheese and Pound Cake: An Unlikely Pairing


According to Amelia Simmons, who wrote her cookbook, American Cookery, in 1796, all you need to make pound cake is a pound each off our ingredients—sugar, butter, flour, and eggs—plus a gill of rose water, spices to taste, and a slow oven.

The recipe leaves much to the imagination for the modern cook, but still forms the foundation for the recipes we use today. Featuring elements from spices to spirits, cocoa to caramel, pumpkin to pomegranate, and thyme to tomato, pound cake has become the cake of never-ending modifications. Itis a glorious pinwheel of infinite possibility and one that is well worth exploring—especially with cheese.

Chocolate Pound Cake

If you’re a chocoholic and a turophile, have we got the pairing for you. Triple cream cheeses are ideal to balance out a rich slice of chocolate cake. Try a decadent sliver of creamy, salty St. Stephen from Four Fat Fowl in New York with a few juicy amarena cherries on top. Another dashing duo is fruity Blu ’61 from Italy’s Veneto region alongside a slice of white chocolate pound cake. This cow’s milk blue is topped with cranberries and soaked in Passito di Raboso, a sweet red wine.

Four Fat Fowl St. Stephen + dark chocolate pound cake
La Casearia Carpenedo Blu ’61 + white chocolate pound cake

Plain Pound Cake

Rich, dense, and moist, this sweet, buttery treat is magical when done right. Griddle a slice in butter and top with whipped sheep’s milk ricotta, crushed pistachios, a delicate drizzle of honey, and a pinch of sea salt. For another sweet twist, make pound cake croutons and serve them with macerated strawberries and crumbles of O’Banon, a bourbon-soaked, chestnut leaf–wrapped goat’s milk round from Capriole in Indiana. The tang of the goat shines, while the chestnut leaves and bourbon impart an herbal quality with deeper hints of vanilla.

Twenty Paces Ricotta + plain pound cake
Capriole O’Banon + plain pound cake

Savory Pound Cake

Not a fan of sweets? There’s a pound cake for you, too. Known by the French name salé, this version cuts out the sugar and kicks up the flavor by adding ham, olives, veggies, nuts, cheese, and any other bits and bobs you have in your fridge. Falling somewhere between a cake and a quiche, cake salé can be enjoyed hot or cold and is a perfect vehicle for cheese. Many recipes call for Gruyère, but we also love Schnebelhorn, a beefy, nutty, raw cow’s milk cheese from the Swiss Alps. Mountaineer from Meadow Creek Dairy works, too—made with the raw milk of grass-fed cows, the wedge is brothy and buttery with hints of toasted nuts and hay.

Käserei Bütschwil Schnebelhorn + savory pound cake
Meadow Creek Dairy Mountaineer + savory pound cake

Anna Adduci

Anna Adduci is a cheesemonger, writer, and photographer living in Richmond, Virginia.

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