Filed under: Bars / Brownies & Blondies
March 9, 2021

Pound Cake Brownies

Fudgy brownies are interrupted in the best way with a vanilla pound cake. These beautiful swirled bars are part deep chewy chocolate and part light & fluffy vanilla cake.

5 from 43 votes
Yield: 10
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I don’t always know why certain ideas pop into my head but I can tell you that I think a lot about how things bake and then I run through all the kinds of ways I can make the conventional unconventional.  Which okay, usually has me adding brownie or cookie (or cookie dough IN brownie) in places you wouldn’t expect to find it. For these, I considered that neither brownies nor pound cake have leavening; that they were opposing in terms of texture and taste, and therefore, would make a wonderful match. I was right. 

Gooey, Fudgy Brownies 

I talk a lot about my perfect brownies on this thick cocoa recipe and this always shiny top recipe. The basis for both of those recipes, and the one for these uses more cocoa than flour for a richer taste and a fudgy (rather than cakey) texture; incorporates the butter & sugar together over heat to dissolve some of the sugar; and adding chopped chocolate ensures that signature shiny top! 



Dutch Process Powder for Brownies 

The type of cocoa you choose will make all the difference in all your chocolate baking. The two most commonly used types of cocoa in baking are: natural cocoa and dutch process. If you are in the states most of the cocoa sold at grocery stores is ‘natural’; which essentially means it’s just unsweetened chocolate minus the cocoa butter. It’s great for baking in terms of texture but kind of lacks that deep chocolate flavor. Dutch, which has been alkalized (acidity has been removed) is what lends baked goods a smooth, rich and deep chocolate flavor.



Pound Cake

For the pound cake portion of this recipe I based my pound cake mix off of this popular recipe which follows the basic pound formula for pound cakes. But to avoid a dry texture I tend to opt for cake flour, I talk more about that in this blood orange pound cake recipe. In these brownies however, because they won’t be in the oven as long as the average pound cake, you can do just fine with AP flour. 

Pound Cake + Brownies = Pound Cake Brownies!

Neither of these batters has leavening making them ideal for baking together. They are at perfect flavor contrast from each other: one is a soft vanilla, the other an intense chocolate. In terms of texture, you’ll find the pound cake tender and soft and the brownie dense and fudgy. Basically, the pound cake batter kind of ‘lightens’ up the brownie. 



How to make Pound Cake Brownies 

You’ll need: 

A stand mixer or a bowl and a hand mixer for the pound cake

A heat-proof bowl and a whisk for the brownie mix. 

  1. Take butter out of the fridge an hour or more before. Eggs too! 
  2. Make brownie batter over a double boiler or in the microwave
  3. Make pound cake batter with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer 
  4. Swirl and layer the two batters
  5. Bake! 



Pound Cake Brownies

Fudgy brownies are interrupted in the best way with a vanilla pound cake. These beautiful swirled bars are part deep chewy chocolate and part light & fluffy vanilla cake.
pound cake brownies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 10
5 from 43 votes


Pound Cake Batter

  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature, 113g
  • ¾ cup sugar 150g
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • ¾ cup cake flour or all purpose 90g
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or heavy cream or milk

Brownie Batter

  • ½ cup unsalted butter 113g
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
  • ½ cup dutch process cocoa 40g
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup all purpose flour 40g
  • ¼ cup chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray or lightly oil an 8×8 inch square baking pan or a brownie pan and line with parchment paper.
  • To make the pound cake batter:
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a using a bowl and a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and sea salt until very light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. This is the key part of getting the pound cake texture right so don’t skimp on time !
  • Add the egg and beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and beat for another two minutes.
  • Over the bowl, sift in the flour and add the sour cream. If you are using a stand mixer with a low bowl place a dish towel over the bowl (the flour will make a mess if you don’t) and beat the batter until most of the flour has been incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat again. Ensure the batter is fully blended. Set aside.
  • To make the brownie batter:
  • Place the butter in a medium-sized heatproof bowl and set it in the microwave for 1 minute to melt. Stir in the sugar and cocoa and return the bowl for another minute. Whisk it briskly for 60 seconds.
  • Once the butter is cool enough to touch (about 3 minutes) whisk in the eggs, salt and vanilla. Whisk for a full 60 seconds until you have a smooth brownie batter. Whisk in the flour until just combined and fold in the chocolate.
  • Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared cake pan. Dollop pound cake batter onto the brownie batter, as pictured above. Use the back of a spoon to swirl the pound cake batter. Spoon the remaining brownie batter over the pound cake batter and gently swirl them together with a butterknife or offset spatula.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the center has puffed and when you shake the pan gently the center doesn’t wobble. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove. Store in an airtight container.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    So good! I made it for my family and they loved it! I’m only 16 so I don’t know how to bake that much but it turned out really good!

  2. 5 stars
    This is my new go-to easy treat for casual dinner parties…or when the craving hits! It’s the best of both worlds with the chocolate and buttery cake. Always a smash hit and nothing but crumbs left in the pan.

  3. Waiting for them to finish baking, and super excited to taste, but concerned. I went back and read the recipe again, then watched the video. The written instructions are slightly different in a couple places than the video. Sadly, I think I over swirled. Hoping I didn’t ruin my pound cake taste by mixing too much into the brownie batter. I can’t imagine they won’t taste good anyway. Thank you for the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    Overall yum. I used salted butter (and skipped the salt) and regular cocoa powder – I would definitely remember the pinch of salt next time. I also had some trouble with the batter combination – when I tried to distribute the batter in the pan evenly I murked the top up. Mine looks a little like a “nailed it” submission but I would def make again.

  5. 5 stars
    These pound cake brownies turned out absolutely delicious, and they were very easy to make. Thank you so much for the fantastic and creative recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    super easy to follow directions and just the right balance to not have an overly rich brownie. I’m a HUGE fan. I’ll def be baking this again!

  7. 5 stars
    Tastes great! Mine were a little thin because I didn’t have the correct size brownie pan, but they still held up well and were wonderfully chewy and soft. They also just look beautiful in terms of presentation.

  8. 5 stars
    These are incredible! I have tried the Emergency Brownie recipe before – which is also amazing – but these are absolutely next level. The directions are clear and helpful and I really appreciate that the ingredients are also listed in grams. These brownies look so beautiful and are an extra special twist on already tasty brownies.

  9. 5 stars
    OMG- these were ah-mazing. Brownies are one of my favorite desserts and these ones are now on my top 5. If you haven’t made these you need to run right now and do it. I can’t believe I waited so long to make them. I made them gluten-free using Namaste flour and it you can’t even tell. BRB…. Gonna go eat another piece. 😉

  10. 5 stars
    I wasn’t sure if I rated this recipe with my previous comment. So, I wanted to make sure I gave it 5 stars (I would give it more if that was possible) and to say again…These are AMAZING!

  11. 5 stars
    These are AMAZING! I followed the recipe exactly. I just discovered Buttermilk when a friend posted a pic of the cinnamon rolls she made. I do a LOT of baking and I plan on not only making these (again and again), but I will also be making a LOT more of Sam’s recipes! BTW Did I mention how AMAZING these are?!

  12. 5 stars
    These brownies are my favorite. This is one of those recipes that you make if you really want to impress someone! It is absolutely worth making the two batters. Yum!!

  13. 5 stars
    I baked these in an 8×6 glass pan so the bake wasn’t super even, but that was totally my fault. They still turned out delicious and I will definitely be making these again!

  14. 5 stars
    These are out-of-this-world good. Such a creative idea to combine pound cake and brownies and the combo is insanely delicious!!! 10/10

  15. 5 stars
    Absolutely perfect. Made these for a celebration meeting at work and they are a crowd pleaser! Also would make again just for myself on a Friday night though.. 🙂
    Highly recommend for any occasion.
    Also, the parchment lining is a MUST, so don’t be like me and forget it in your haste to get the brownies in the oven.

  16. I really want to make these! But what should I do if I wanna make them in a 9×13 pan? Should I double the recipe?

  17. 5 stars
    I made these brownies for a Fourth of July cookout at our friends’ house and they were beyond delicious. Nearly everyone in attendance made it a point to find out who made them and come up to tell me how much they loved them. There was an older Ukrainian couple there who mentioned that they weren’t sickeningly sweet like so many American dessert. Both my husband and my 8yo daughter agreed these are the only brownies I’m allowed to make anymore. ? thanks for another recipe that made me look awesome!

  18. Hey, Sam! These look amazing. If I want to make them in a 9×13 pan, should I make more batter so that they come out as thick as in the pictures? If so, how much more? Thanks!

    • Hmm, I made mine in a brownie pan which was about 10×8 so I think a 9×13 would fit a double recipe just fine. If you do add more you’ll want to let it bake a little longer.

  19. 5 stars
    Grab all of the ingredients and make this ASAP! After one bite my friend said, this is a keeper because you must make this again. It looks so good on its own, though if I was serving to guests I would dust it with some powdered sugar.

  20. Hey there, in the pound cake recipe you state sugar, and the brownie recipe granulated sugar. Are these the same? Or is the sugar in the pound cake caster sugar? Thank you!!

      • 5 stars
        These were sensational!! The best marble’ish cake with actual rich and deep chocolate flavor. It truly is a brownie cake combo that I cannot wait to make again.

        My only addition was some espresso powder to the butter/sugar combo of the brownie.

      • 5 stars
        These are the absolute best! Love the contrast of fluffy vanilla and rich fudgy chocolate! Only issue is I may turn into a brownie..I doubled the mixture and made a big tray to split between my brother for his birthday and my work colleagues tomorrow, but unsure how much will actually make it to their intended destinations ?

  21. 5 stars
    So. Good. It’s a good thing I quartered the recipe bc my self control does not stand a chance against these ?

  22. 5 stars
    I made your pound Cake Brownies. Can I just say they blow your mind. Absolutely Fabulous!! I can eat a whole tray by myself. Love your recipes especially these quirky ones!!!❤️

  23. 5 stars
    These brownies are so, so good. The buttery pound cake and dark chocolate brownies go together so well – amazingly great for both people who love chocolate (me) and people who like it but love something to cut through it (my husband). Such a clever idea, Sam!! They didn’t last long, but they held up beautifully in tupperware over several days. Definitely a go-to brownie recipe…can’t wait to make them again.

  24. 5 stars
    These are splendid. I made them for my roommates who are stressing their mcat, which is this weekend, and it definitely brightened their day 🙂 I will definitely be making them again

  25. 5 stars
    Saw these when you first posted about a month ago and the recipe had been on my mind ever since. Finally decided a cloudy day was the only reason needed to bake and yum oh yum! I like the idea of adding a little orange zest too and may try that next time. I share with neighbors and friends every time I bake and they are also forever grateful for this amazing recipe. My brownies were very dense rich chocolate ( may have added a little more chopped choc) and the pound cake worked wonders !
    Thanks a bunch

  26. 5 stars
    These are SO GOOD. The textures and flavors of the pound cake and brownie go together so well and create something really interesting and delicious. I just want to make them again.

  27. 5 stars
    Just made these brownies and they are a huge success. They are very reminiscent of brownies we had as kids but richer and moister.
    I followed the directions as written except I used a 9×9 pan as that is what I had available. The bottom chocolate layer is obviously thinner but the cook time was still the same.

  28. 5 stars
    Run, don’t walk, to make these brownies! So moist and delicious! Love this recipe not only for taste, but for the step by step instructions. Cant wait to share these with friends!

  29. 5 stars
    These are delicious and different. Sometimes brownies are just to chocolately and the pound cake tames it. Will definately make again.

  30. These look like a delicious variation on brownies. Every time I look at the pound cake part I keep thinking orange zest would be so good in there. I think it might get lost in brownies, but in that pound cake might be just the right balance. Any thoughts?

  31. 5 stars
    Just made these. They are without a doubt my new favorite brownie and possibly one of the best tasting things I have ever baked. The crumb of the pound cake is so light and yet it somehow does not get overpowered by the beautiful chocolatey brownie. Thank you for the recipe! This is the third or fourth recipe of yours I have tried. All of them have been massive hits. Keep them coming! 🙂

  32. 5 stars
    I saw you post these on Instagram – and my mouth started watering. And at that moment, I decided – yes, I have an exam in 2 hours, but baking these pound cake brownies sounds way more fun and a study break baking brownies is more productive than studying (obviously). It didn’t take long to prepare the batters. Soon I placed the pan in the oven, turned on my timer, and went back to studying. Studying with the aroma of these brownies makes you more productive (proven by me!). Then, I took them out of the oven, took my exam, and I celebrated the end of midterms with a piece. And OH MY. These would get a 100 if I could grade them (and bonus points for being so easy and approachable). Definitely brightened my day after having a lot going on this week! Thank you Sam for another innovative recipe! <3

  33. These look amazing and can’t wait to try them!! I’m in Ireland and wondering would half a cup of cocoa powder apply generally or for this specific brand?

  34. 1. It says 8 by 8 pan the picture looks like a 9 by 13 which is better
    2. If you don’t like a real deep rich chocolate what can you substitute with so they come out?
    I know this sounds weird I made the brownies from bravetart and the were way too chocolatty for me but turned out great
    Thank you
    Can’t wait to make this

    • The pan in the photos is a brownie pan (9×7), comparable to an 8×8 which is much more common in home kitchens and why I specified it. If you don’t like deep chocolate you can skip the added chocolate, but also in that case I’m not sure this would be the right recipe for you as it’s definitely chocolate forward.

  35. It doesn’t mention what kind of chocolate for the brownies. Dark? Semi sweet? Unsweetened? Thanks. Recipe looks wonderful.