Patti LaBelle's great-grandmother Mariah’s old-fashioned pound cake

By Patti LaBelle

Legendary singer Patti LaBelle gives dessert lovers recipes to sing about – for delicious cakes, mousses and more from her newest cookbook, Desserts LaBelle


This pound cake has a large amount of batter and should be made in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan; otherwise it won’t cook through properly. If you have to use a smaller pan, fill it only three-quarters full and discard the remaining batter.

Serves 8


  • • softened butter and flour, for the pan
  • • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • • 1 tsp baking powder
  • • ½ tsp salt
  • • 1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • • 1½ cups sugar
  • • 3 large eggs, at room temperature


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the inside of 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, preferably an uncoated aluminum pan. Line the bottom with waxed paper. Dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess flour.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Mix the milk, vanilla and lemon extract together in a liquid measuring cup. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed until the butter is a shade paler and smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is pale yellow and has a fluffy texture, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, beating for 15 seconds after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. With the machine on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with two equal additions of the milk mixture, mixing just until smooth after each addition and scraping the bowl down as needed. Transfer to the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  3. Bake until the top of the cake is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. 4. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Unmould the cake onto the rack and discard the paper. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely.
Already a bestselling food author, Patti had never considered doing a dessert book, given her diabetes diagnosis in 1994. But the singer was spurred on by fans of her sweet potato pie (sold at Walmart in the U.S.) and her son, Zuri, who reminded her that the LaBelle family has a treasure trove of decadent recipes! They’re all in this book, along with low-sugar, reduced-fat creations which, says Patti, “I enjoy every bit as much as my old-school treats.” – CHRIS DANIELS
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