BACKGROUND: The effect of the baking process (microwave versus conventional oven) on some starch characteristics of pound cake was evaluated. Proximal chemical analysis, total resistant starch (RS), retrograded resistant starch (RS3), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were evaluated. Pound cake, one of the major products of Mexico's bread industry, was selected for analysis because the high moisture and fat content in the beaten dough might reduce the quality defects often associated with microwave baking. RESULTS: Crumbs from microwave-baked pound cakes contained lower moisture than crumbs from conventionally baked pound cake. Lower RS was observed in fresh microwave-baked than conventionally baked pound cake. RS3 increased significantly in conventionally baked products stored for 8 days at room temperature, whereas slightly lower changes in RS3 were observed in the microwaved product. DSC revealed less gelatinisation in microwaved pound cake which is related to limited water availability during the microwave heating process. The crystallinity peaks present in conventionally baked pound cake might be associated with RS3 content; the resistant retrograded starch formed during storage, is reflected in the XRD pattern. CONCLUSION: Microwave-baked pound cake crumbs showed less gelatinisation than conventionally baked pound cake crumbs. © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry.