I may not be a southern girl, but you wouldn’t know it by my desserts. 7up Pound Cake is a clear southern dessert table favorite with its easy prep and low-maintenance decoration. This pound cake can sit on picnic tables with no problem, but it also graces even the poshest buffet lines. Though it’s a popular summertime dessert, I love to serve it during the holidays as a simple, sweet ending to my labor-intensive meals.
I’m bi-racial and the Black side of my family are South Carolinian by way of Metuchen, New Jersey. The one thing about my paternal grandmother that I remember is she loved sweets. Those funky ribbon candies were always set on a candy dish on her coffee table. She’d smack our hands if she saw us reaching for them and proclaim, “Those are for company!” Never mind that we were the company. Pound cake- 7up pound cake- was the only cake I remember eating with her. I never liked hers because it never tasted like anything but boring pound cake. And a stale, dry one at that. I had to eat it, though. So, I did and secretly vowed I’d make my grandbabies a better version when the time came.
What is a 7up Pound Cake?
The 7up pound cake is, in essence, a lemon-lime cake. A milder lemon-lime, that is.
Typically, the base cake is an all-butter affair. Some folks cut their butter with shortening to make it fridge-friendly. Butter tends to harden when chilled, so cutting it with shortening minimizes that. Most recipes for 7up pound cake use a lemon extract, while using the 7up for a three-fold purpose: to leaven the cake, as a liquid in the cake, and to shore up that citrus flavor.
When it comes to my citrus cakes, however, my mild is most people’s pucker. If you hand me a slice of “lemon-lime” anything and I don’t pucker, I may try to fight you. I also feel strongly about all-butter cakes. Don’t put it in the fridge if you don’t want it to get hard and save your shortening for frying chicken. My use of 7up is also tri-fold, but instead of relying on it more for the glaze, which is what I find most recipes doing, I’m using it mainly as a simple syrup.
Who made the first 7up Cake? What does 7up do to the cake?
The 7up pound cake (or simply cake) is a southern institution. Its namesake soda, 7up, is one of those old-school medicinal cures that was invented by a traveling salesman. Seems legit enough. 7up, which was originally made with lithium, was marketed as a “mood-enhancing” beverage. I chuckle at the thought of going to the local supermarket and grabbing a 6-pack of uppers. But, this is also the era that produced cocaine-laced cola, so who am I to judge.
Anyhow, it seems as though baking with sodas became all the rage among southern women, especially during wartime. The scarcity of baking sodas motivated them to try a new leavening agent in their cakes and the soda cake was born. I have doubt that any soda can morph into a cake; as a matter of fact, I may take on the challenge to do a series of soda cakes! For now, this will be my inaugural recipe.
What ingredients are used to make a 7up Pound Cake from scratch?
Obviously, 7up soda is a main ingredient. Fresh lemons and limes create the true lemon-lime flavor, though. All-purpose flour, unsalted butter, eggs, sugar, sour cream, and powdered sugar to make the glaze are the remaining ingredients in this pound cake.
I suggest the use of a large bundt pan when it comes to baking this beaut. A cooling rack is also good to have on hand when it comes time to dousing your hot, fresh-out-the-oven cake with its namesake sody-pop.
Let’s do this.
Can I substitute Sprite (or another citrus soda) for 7up in my Pound Cake?
Truth be told, I’d use any lemon-lime soda and still call it a 7up pound cake. Who’s going to check me? No one. Not one person will come for you if you decide to use a different lemon-lime soda.
Shoot, had it not been for the pictures I needed to attach, I might have use the generic store-brand of citrus soda. This cake would’ve really been called Twist Up Pound Cake or some ratchetness like that. Use whatever you like, but make sure you don’t use a grapefruit soda in place of a lemon-lime soda.
What’s the best way to mix a Pound Cake?
A pound cake is probably the most straightforward cake to mix. The most important thing to remember when it comes to making it is to have all of your ingredients at room temperature. 7up pound cake loves to curdle while mixing, mostly because of the amount of citrus in the batter. Room temperature ingredients help to lower the chances of curdling. My method of cutting the flour into the wet ingredients during mixing also aids in the prevention of curdling.
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar, salt, room temperature butter, and some of the zest of a lemon and a lime. I zest the fruits with a microplane just until I see a hint of the white pith. The pith is bitter so we avoid it when zesting. Go ahead and juice the lemons and limes for later use while you have them handy, too.
Use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and paddle. Continue to beat the sugar and butter together on medium speed for an additional 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light, nearly white in appearance, and fluffy.
Can I use cold eggs to make my cake?
NO! Oh, did I yell that? My sincerest apologies.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to mix your 7up cake with room temperature ingredients. If you were to add cold eggs to the mixture at this point, you can rest assured your batter will begin to curdle. Did you forget to pull the eggs out earlier? No worries, my friend. Just pop them into a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes before you start mixing and they’ll be good to go. Crack the eggs into a bowl and measure the vanilla into that same bowl.
Add the room temperature eggs to the butter-sugar mixture, one at a time. Just decrease the mixer’s speed to low and plop an egg in. Allow the mixer to blend that egg into the butter mixture before stopping the mixer and scraping the paddle and bowl down. Resume the mixing (on low), then add the next egg. This method of adding the eggs one at a time is the way great cake batters are developed. Truth be told, it takes no less than 7 minutes before the flour is even added to develop an amazing cake batter, so be patient. Continue adding the eggs in this way until all have been added. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and bowl once more.
How do I make a tender cake?
The key to making a tender cake is to sift the crap outta the dry ingredients. Sifting flour with the leavening agents areates the flour, making it lighter than flour straight from the bag or bin. The more you sift your flour, the lighter your cake will be. Even though this is a pound cake, it doesn’t mean it has to be a brick.
After sifting together the dry ingredients, combine the sour cream, a portion of the 7up, and the lemon and lime juice. Set this aside.
The reason for this is the other way to ensure a lighter cake. Adding the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in alternating stages is a crucial part of cake making. If you dump all of the flour and sour cream-soda mix into the mixing bowl at once, it will require you to mix longer to develop a balanced batter. The longer you mix all-purpose flour, the more gluten develops which makes your cake tougher. Instead, add the dry and wet ingredients in stages: 1/3 of the dry> 1/2 of the wet>1/3 of the dry> the last of the wet> the last of the dry, blending on the lowest speed just until the addition has been incorporated. Be sure to scrape down both paddle and bowl before adding the next mixture.
Once the last of the dry mix has been added, only mix on low for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold the batter a few times. Scrape the batter out of the bowl (and off of the paddle) into a lightly greased and floured bundt pan.
Smooth the surface of the batter and bake for 1 hour- 1 hour 15 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
How do I make the lemon-lime glaze for my 7up Pound Cake?
Prepare your 7up glaze while the cake is baking.
Add the powdered sugar, lemon and lime juice and zest, and 7up to a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine these until they’re smooth.
My cake glaze is too thick/thin! How do I fix it?
I like my glaze to be very thick; so thick, in fact, that it holds the shape of the drips after I pour it over the cake. If you prefer a thinner glaze- one that disappears- whisk in a tablespoon more of the 7up.
If, one the other hand, you find the glaze is too thin, just add more powdered sugar until it’s as thick as you’d prefer.
Cover the bowl and leave it on the countertop while the cake finishes baking.
Can I freeze cake glaze?
If you want to make your glaze ahead of time, feel free to do so and freeze the glaze after mixing. This glaze tends to stay semi-soft after freezing, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stored in the freezer. Simply transfer the glaze to a freezer storage bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
Thaw the glaze in the fridge; when it’s thawed and your cake has cooled, snip off one of the corners of the bag and drizzle the glaze on the cake. Too easy.
How long do I bake my 7up Pound Cake?
Typically, a pound cake needs to bake for 1 hour. I prefer to bake mine closer to an hour and 15 minutes, though. I find that the longer baking time gives my 7up pound cake better color and prevents patches on the surface. A “patch” on a bundt cake is a mark made when part of the baked cake sticks to the pan due to underbaking or the pan not being properly greased.
Once your cake has finished baking, place the pan on a wire rack over a sheet pan. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
How do I make a moist 7up Pound Cake?
To make a moist 7up cake, you should add more 7up- like this!
Instead of making a simple syrup, which is how cake makers make their cakes extra-moist, I just pour the rest of the 7up over my cake. Simple syrup is, afterall, just sugar and water- what more is soda?
After the 5 minutes of cooling in the pan, turn the cake out onto the wire rack and quickly pour the 7up over the hot cake. Pouring the 7up over a piping-hot cake bakes the soda onto the exterior of the cake without the cake having a chance to get soggy.
Now, just let the cake cool completely on the rack.
How to I glaze my Pound Cake?
Glaze the cake simply. Just spoon the 7up glaze you made earlier over the surface. Use as much, or as little, glaze as you prefer.
Feel free to only use half of the glaze and serve the rest to your diners on the side.
What do I decorate my 7up Cake with?
As you can see, I like to add a little flair to my 7up pound cake by decorating it with spirals of citrus. Decorate yours likewise, or more simply: with slices of lemon and lime.
No decorations at all are also a way to go.
How do I serve the cake?
The joy of this 7up pound cake is that it requires nothing more. No need to worry about sauces or ice cream. It’s moist enough to enjoy solo.
Just slice and serve!
Can I refrigerate a Pound Cake?
While 7up pound cake can certainly be refrigerated, it doesn’t need to be. There’s nothing in the baked cake or glaze that will “go bad”. Even if there were, the cake won’t be around long enough for it to happen.
That said, if you must refrigerate your cake, be aware that the butter-hardening thing is most likely going to happen. Prior to eating, leave the cake on the countertop to warm up for a few minutes to make it more enjoyable.
Can I freeze a Pound Cake?
Yes! You most certainly can freeze pound cake!
Wrap your cooled, unglazed 7up pound cake in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and freeze for 2 months. When you’re ready to partake, allow the pound cake to thaw at room temperature before glazing and serving.
Be sure to share this southern staple with your nearest and dearest. Don’t forget to pin it for the approaching holiday season, too!
7up Pound Cake
- 12-15 cup bundt pan
- 3 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 sticks (333g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups (495g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6g) kosher salt
- 1 large lemon zested and juiced
- 2 medium limes zested and juiced
- 1 cup (225g) sour cream at room temperature
- 1/2 cup 7up (or similar citrus soda), at room temperature
For the 7up Glaze
- 2 cups (240g) powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- the remaining zest of the lemon and limes
- 7up to thin as needed
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously spray a 12-15 cup bundt pan with non-stick baking spray. Alternatively, you can grease with shortening and lightly flour the pan.
Combine the Dry Ingredients
- Into a medium size mixing bowl, sift the all-purpose flour and baking powder. Repeat the sifting of the dry ingredients twice more. Set the bowl of dry ingredients aside.
- Into a separate, smaller bowl, crack the eggs and add the vanilla.Don't whisk the eggs. Set this bowl aside while you beat the butter and sugar.
Cream the Butter and Sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of zest from the lemon and the lime (reserve the remaining zest for the glaze). Use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and paddle.
- Continue to beat the sugar and butter together on medium speed for an additional 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light, nearly white in appearance, and fluffy.
Add the Eggs and Vanilla
- Decrease your mixing speed to low and add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture, one at a time. Allow the mixer to blend the egg into the butter mixture before stopping the mixer and scraping the paddle and bowl down.
- Resume the mixing (on low), then add the next egg. Continue adding the eggs in this way until all have been added. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and bowl once more.
Alternate Adding the Dry and Liquid Ingredients
- In a bowl, gently stir together the sour cream, the 1/2 cup of 7up, and 2 tablespoons each of the lemon and lime juice. Set this aside.
- Add the dry and wet ingredients in stages: begin with the mixer on low speed and slowly mix in 1/3 of the dry ingredients. As soon as the flour is no longer visible, stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and bowl.
- Now add 1/2 of the sour cream-soda mixture to the bowl. Mix just until the liquid is incorporated and add the next 1/3 of the dry mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and bowl as soon as the flour has been mixed in.
- Add the last of the wet, followed by the last of the dry, blending on the lowest speed just until the addition has been incorporated. Once the last of the dry mix has been added, only mix on low for 30 more seconds. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold the batter a few times.
Bake the Cake
- Scrape the batter out of the bowl (and off of the paddle) into a lightly greased and floured bundt pan.Smooth the surface of the batter, give the pan a few gentle taps against the countertop to expels any air bubbles, and bake for 1- 1 hour 15 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
- Once the cake has finished baking, place the pan on a wire rack over a sheet pan. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes of cooling in the pan, turn the cake out onto the wire rack and quickly pour the 7up over the hot cake. Allow the cake cool completely on the rack.
Prepare the 7up Glaze (while the cake is baking or cooling)
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon and lime juices and the remaining zests.Add 7up to thin to your desired consistency. Whisk until smooth.
- The glaze is safe, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can also transfer the glaze to a storage bag and refrigerate for 1 week.
Glaze the 7up Cake
- Spoon the 7up glaze over the surface of the cake. Use as much, or as little, glaze as you prefer. Decorate your cake with slices of lemon and lime or serve it as is.
How to Store the Baked 7up Pound Cake and/or Glaze:
For the baked cake:While 7up pound cake can certainly be refrigerated, it doesn't need to be. If you must refrigerate your cake, note that the butter in the cake will harden and cause the cake to be firm.
To make eating it more enjoyable, leave the cake on the countertop for 30 minutes to warm up prior to eating. You can also heat your slice in the microwave for 15 seconds.
To freeze the pound cake:Wrap your cooled, unglazed 7up pound cake in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and freeze for 2 months.
When you're ready to partake, allow the pound cake to thaw at room temperature before glazing and serving.
To freeze 7up glaze:Transfer the mixed glaze to a storage bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
Thaw the glaze in the fridge. Once the glaze has thawed and your cake has cooled, snip off one of the corners of the bag and drizzle the glaze over the cake.