This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa is one of the closest I have come to a good plain pound cake. The kind you can use for a trifle, or strawberries and cream, etc. (Really like a very good Sara Lee pound cake,only much better). Just plain ones are hard to find a recipe for. This is why her cookbooks are among my very favorites and I use them often.
Honey Vanilla Pound Cake
¼ pound (2 sticks) butter at cool room temperature (just softened enough to push your finger in, no more than one hour)
1 ¼ cups sugar
4 extra large eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease the bottom of an 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup, but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to mix well. Sift together the flour salt and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack and cool completely.