I have a very old pound cake recipe that calls for a “round” of butter. How much is that? I have no idea.

  • 4
    Can you post the entire recipe?
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 1:09

5 Answers 5


Looks like a misprint for Pound. The point of Pound Cake is that you use the same amount of each ingredient - for example, a pound.

  • 5
    Yup, modern recipes do stray from that a bit, but since this is an old recipe, I'd be pretty confident.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 19:16

A round of bread or butter seems to be a term that is used by some English speakers, but I'm not sure where from. I'm not sure what equivalent measurement it has, if it even has an exact measurement, but I think it has the idea of an entire piece of butter.

Survey of English Dialects:
From the survey of English dialects

Slices of bread alongside a round of butter and a hillock of sea or river salt was neatly presented on a plate deliberately pottered with bits missing.

Image of a round of butter and bread

from a restaurant review

The butter is weighed into balls either the size of those sweet tiny pats (used in restaurants and on airplanes), the most popular round 220 g block (not sure if it is called a block if it is round…) or the sleek rectangular blocks (very sexy in their shiny silver wrapping, with the label stamp-pressed on) for restaurant use.

Image of a round of butter being made
Pepe is making a special round of butter for our breakfast

from http://mondaymorningcookingclub.com.au

  • In old recipes this is also entirely possible -- in which case the OP's best approach would be look at the other ingredients and estimate proportions.
    – Erica
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 12:08
  • @Erica I'd agree if it weren't for the fact that it's a pound cake. It most likely wouldn't be called a pound cake if it didn't have real measurements, a pound of each.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 19:01

I'm guessing you are young. It weren't long ago we kept butter on the table in a covered round dish and the butter inside the dish sat on ice chips to stay cool (I can't add any extra pics because Pussykins is lying on my other arm).

The butter molds were round and the ones for home use were generally 1/2 pound, 1 pound up to 2 pound. Some housewives made their own butter, some ordered butter, some ordered butter then re-molded into fancy shapes to impress company. [Butter Molds] (http://dairyantiques.com/Butter_Molds.html) Gold Medal Dairy Butter

  • 2
    So.. you're saying a round of butter is 1/2 pound, 1 pound, or 2 pounds? Not sure that's terribly useful for someone trying to bake a cake.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 3:34
  • 1
    So you are saying that there was no common notation for a "round of butter then? Who's Pussykins? and why is this part of your answer.
    – Chef_Code
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 7:18
  • 2
    What i was trying to say was that a round could mean 1/2 pound, 1 pound or 2 pounds of butter those were the common sizes for the butter molds (rounds) This is why i suggested the OP post the receipt because without seeing the measures for the other ingredients it's really difficult to guess on the round used Pussykins is one of my kitties...shouldn't have included her but as she was on my arm i couldn't add the links i wanted Dairy Butter History Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 19:38

The very definition of a pound cake is a cake that is made of a pound each of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs -- that is why is was called a pound cake. It's a simple misprint.

Fyi, a pound of flour may be given in the recipe as about 4 1/4 cups. A pound of sugar measures out at about 2 1/4 cups. For a pound of eggs, use 9 medium, 8 large, or 7 extra large. (Eggs sizes aren't 100% reliable and sizing is done by total container weight, not individual eggs, but these numbers should get you close, if you don't have a scale.) Oh, and by the way, a pound of butter displaces 2 cups.

Pound cake recipes can be found with infinite variations, but the one-pound weight of each of the above ingredients is the reason it was named pound cake hundreds of years ago.

  • Egg sizes to weights is different in the US vs. UK: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/3705/67 . Also, they might have started as a pound of each, but we still call them pound cakes, even though the ratios have changed significantly.
    – Joe
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 15:20

I believe the word "round" is a misprint and that it should read "pound". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_cake - you'll find this link from Wikipedia useful. "Pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. However, any cake made with a 1:1:1:1 ratio, by weight, of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar may also be called a pound cake, as it yields the same results."

  • Hello Crystin, you have linked a definition of pound cake, but I don't see how you address the actual question, which is about the word "round" as a unit of measurement for butter.
    – rumtscho
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 17:01
  • 1
    In the future you can just edit your post and flag it for attention, no need to post a separate answer. Went ahead and took care of it for you. (Also, do note that Bob's answer from a couple days before yours says basically the same thing. You may find that your answers are better received if you try to offer something new!)
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 23:30

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