Perfect Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This recipe produces a perfect cream cheese pound cake. After persistent recipe testing with many failures, I found the best ratio of ingredients to produce a moist, dense, and flavorful pound cake. Using 9 simple ingredients, this cream cheese pound cake recipe will be your new favorite. To prevent a ruined cake, follow the baking time and temperature closely. 

Cream cheese pound cake

Until recently, I had never made really good plain pound cake. I have delicious lemon pound cake, raspberry swirl pound cake, and brown butter pound cake in my back pocket, but regular pound cake has always been a disappointment. It was so hard for me to tackle this recipe because pound cake can easily turn out dry, rock solid, and/or lacking flavor.

But then I began adding cream cheese and sour cream to the cake batter. And my long history of pound cake disappointments began fading away.

Cream cheese pound cake

Today I’m teaching you how to make my favorite cream cheese pound cake in a bundt pan. I’m confident this is the best pound cake and I’m showing you exactly why:

  • Very buttery & very moist
  • Not dry
  • 1 bowl recipe
  • Only 9 basic ingredients
  • Dense, but not heavy as a brick
  • Soft & smooth crumb
  • A little tang from cream cheese
  • Sweet & vanilla flavored

You can easily halve this recipe for a loaf pan or try my mini pound cakes recipe.

Cream cheese pound cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for cream cheese pound cake and why each is used.

  1. Butter: Butter is the base of pound cake. You need 3 sticks of properly softened butter.
  2. Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is the difference between dry pound cake and moist pound cake. End of story. If you’ve experienced dry pound cake before, cream cheese will solve all those problems. I swear by it and you will too!
  3. Sugar: This is a very large cake, so a lot of sugar is required to sweeten the cake and properly cream all the butter and cream cheese. 2 and 1/2 cups seems like a lot, but remember this cake is heavy and yields many servings.
  4. Sour Cream: Sour cream is an unconventional ingredient in pound cake, but it adds so much moisture. We are avoiding dry pound cake as much as we can!
  5. Vanilla Extract & Salt: Both are used for flavor. See recipe notes for more flavors.
  6. Eggs: Eggs are the workhorse of pound cake– the main ingredient carrying all the weight. You can’t make pound cake without eggs.
  7. Cake Flour: Cake flour is lighter than all-purpose flour and produces the best pound cake in my opinion. Since it’s so light, the attention remains on the butter. All-purpose flour is simply too heavy for this pound cake recipe; the cake will be heavy as a brick. If needed, use this homemade cake flour substitute.
  8. Baking Powder: Baking powder is another unconventional ingredient in pound cake. I don’t use much for this amount of batter, but the small amount lightly lifts the crumb so the cake isn’t overly heavy and squat.

Each ingredient is important and has a very specific job!

Pound cake batter

Cream cheese pound cake

Pound Cake Disasters: Don’t Do This

And now it’s time to discuss what can go very wrong with pound cake. I’m sharing my mistakes so you don’t waste time or ingredients. The picture below shows 2 pound cake disasters I experienced before landing on the perfect pound cake recipe and method.

  1. Mistake #1 – Left Picture: This is seriously under-cooked pound cake baked at 350°F (177°C). This temperature is TOO HOT for pound cake, which is mostly butter and eggs, to cook evenly. As you can see below, the exterior will brown before the center is cooked. I was so upset cutting into this cake. It looked perfect on the outside.
  2. Mistake #2 – Right Picture: This is seriously over-cooked pound cake. Learning from mistake #1, I cooked the pound cake at 325°F (163°C). I was so nervous to under-bake the pound cake, so I over-baked it. The cake wouldn’t release from the pan, even though it had been generously greased.

These cakes were just awful!

Pound cake disaster

How to Make Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Now that you know what can go wrong, let’s talk about how to make the most perfect cream cheese pound cake. The *TRICK* is a lot of mixing before you add the eggs.

  1. Mix, mix, mix: Beat the butter until creamy. Add the cream cheese, then beat the two until smooth. Get all the cream cheese lumps out. Beat in the sugar, then add the sour cream and vanilla. So far there’s been a lot of mixing and that’s ok!
  2. 1 egg at a time: Add the eggs 1 at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. When the eggs are room temperature, the mixer only needs a few turns and won’t over-mix them. Over-mixed batter = heavy-as-a-brick cake.
  3. Add dry ingredients: Add the dry ingredients right into the same mixing bowl.
  4. Pour into pan: Pour the batter into a generously greased 10-12 cup bundt pan. This is totally not sponsored, but I absolutely adore Nordic Ware bundt pans. Make sure you use one that holds 10-12 cups of batter. This one is also gorgeous! 🙂
  5. Bake: Bake the cream cheese pound cake at 325°F (163°C). Halfway through baking, loosely tent the cake with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
  6. Cool, then invert: Let the pound cool for about 2 hours in the pan, then invert onto a serving plate and cool completely before serving.

Serve with whipped cream, fresh berries, strawberry topping sauce, and/or homemade lemon curd. There’s a simplistic beauty about pound cake– it doesn’t need glaze, frosting, bells, or whistles.

Cream cheese pound cake with berries

Cream cheese pound cake

Pound Cake Success Tips

Enough from me! Let me leave you with 4 tips before you get started.

  • Follow the recipe. Use the ingredients and measurements listed.
  • Bake low and slow. Pound cake is a large heavy cake and requires a cooler oven. Don’t be alarmed if your cake takes longer than 90 minutes.
  • Bring all ingredients to room temperature before beginning. Room temperature ingredients promise a uniformly textured cake. Cold ingredients do not emulsify together and the pound cake won’t bake properly.
  • Make sure each egg is mixed in before adding the next.
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Cream cheese pound cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: serves 12-14
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This recipe produces a perfect cream cheese pound cake. After persistent recipe testing with many failures, I found the best ratio of ingredients to produce a moist, dense, and flavorful pound cake. Using 9 simple ingredients, this cream cheese pound cake recipe will be your new favorite. To prevent a ruined cake, follow the baking time and temperature closely. Learn from my mistake!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 8 ounce (226g) block full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (500g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80g) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups (345g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional for serving: homemade whipped cream & fresh berries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Not 350°F. Generously grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the cream cheese and beat on high speed until completely smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute, then add the sour cream and vanilla and beat on high speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. On low speed, beat the eggs in 1 at a time allowing each to fully mix in before adding the next. Careful not to overmix after the eggs have been added. Once the 6th egg is combined, stop the mixer and add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat on medium speed *just* until combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula or sturdy whisk, give the batter a final turn to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be a little thick and very creamy.
  4. Pour/spoon batter evenly into prepared pan. Bang the pan on the counter once or twice to bring up any air bubbles. Bake for 75-95 minutes. Loosely tent the baking cake with aluminum foil halfway through bake time to ensure the surface does not over-brown. The key to pound cake is a slow and low bake time. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Once it comes out completely clean, the pound cake is done. This is a large heavy cake so don’t be alarmed if it takes longer in your oven. If it needs longer, bake longer.
  5. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours inside the pan. Then invert the slightly cooled pound cake onto a wire rack or serving dish. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Slice and serve with optional toppings like homemade whipped cream & fresh berries.
  7. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Wrap baked and cooled pound cake in 1-2 layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the plastic wrap & foil overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before slicing and serving.
  2. Loaf Pan: Pour the batter into two greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Bake each at 325°F (163°C) for about 60 minutes. Or halve all of the ingredients to make one loaf.
  3. Cake Flour: For the best results, I strongly recommend cake flour. You can find it in the baking aisle and I have many more recipes using it. If you cannot get your hands on cake flour, you can make a DIY cake flour substitute.
  4. Almond Extract or Other Flavors: Along with the vanilla extract, mix in a little almond extract. This is optional, but it adds the most exceptional flavor! I usually use around 1 teaspoon of almond extract. Alternatively, use 1 teaspoon of lemon extract, orange extract, coconut extract, or any of your favorite flavors.

Keywords: pound cake, cake

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253 Comments

      1. This is the exact pan I use and it’s 10 inches wide: https://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Cast-Original-Bundt/dp/B000HM9UDO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=sallsbakiaddi-20&linkId=b282f44e1d0325d1a1c80b2dc4f3b70a&language=en_US

  1. I made this and it wasn’t until I put it in my bundt pan that I realized it was too much and actually overflowed in my oven when I baked it. Is this recipe for a very large sized bundt pan?

      1. I made this cake last Sunday and needless to say, it was gone by Monday! It was so pretty and delicious!

  2. I’m wanting to make a 5 layer rainbow cake (6 inch pans). Would this recipe work okay? What would you suggest for baking times? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kelsy, For a rainbow cake I recommend using a lighter cake such as my favorite white cake: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/new-favorite-white-layer-cake/. You can divide the batter into 5 or 6 layers to color and bake – keeping in mind they will be thinner and require a shorter bake time.

  3. I made this pound cake yesterday ,my first time ever and not from a box, it is so good!! The only thing is as it baked it came out like a muffin top. I let it cool for over two hours it shrunk and the sides broke off. I guess my bundt pan was to small?

    1. I’m thrilled you tried a homemade recipe and enjoyed it! I’m not sure what size pan you are using but for this recipe you will need a 10-12 cup capacity bundt pan.

  4. Can you tell me why you love this recipe with cream cheese but why your mini bundt cakes don’t have the cream cheese in them? Is there a reason for this or can this recipe be used for the mini ones as well?

    1. Hi Molly! Larger pound cakes tend to dry out pretty quickly, so that’s why I swear by adding cream cheese to this big pound cake. You can use this recipe for mini pound cakes if you’d like.

  5. Can this recipe be made in a different pan or does it work best in a bundt pan?
    I am wanting to make it, but don’t have a bundt pan.

  6. Sally this recipe is still my all time favorites of the cake world. That buttery melt in your mouth, craving a tall glass of cold milk and pretty stinking impressive too.
    I’ve overcome the problem getting my cake out of the bundt pan. ( I use loaf pans, LOL) I’ve got to pick my battles. I was tired of prying it out of the pan. When I messaged you about it you told me to grease it better and maybe get a Nordic pan. Well the pan I was using was a pricey heavy Nordic bundt pan that I was gouging the tar out of….. I never looked until I went to buy another one. So I just went with the loaf pans there easier and I can give one away. Haven’t had a problem since.
    I did try browning the butter the taste was fantastic but the cake almost had a thin layer at the bottom, not in the pan at the bottom of the cake itself. As if I started with melted butter in the beginning. I was the only one who noticed that and not sure how to fix it. I know it had something to do with the browning process and cooling off to cream it with the sugar. If you have any suggestions or thoughts please share.
    And Thank you once again for a recipe I can make over and over again for years. Honestly I’ve made this more than I want to admit it is so good, as we speak I’ve got everything out for another batch…….

    P.S. I just have to when people say ” I followed this recipe to a tee” but changed 12 things in it, has got to be the most contradictory statement I ever heard in my life it just cracks me up everytime. Ha ha It is quite funny .
    Thanks again for all you do

  7. Hi Sally. Love your recipes. My brother wants me to make him a chocolate chip pound cake. Could I add some chocolate chips to this recipe? I know they should be dusted in flour before adding To the batter to keep them from falling to the bottom while baking. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Diane! Yes, you can definitely add chocolate chips to this pound cake batter. I recommend 1 and 1/2 cups. You don’t have to dust with flour since this batter is so thick (they won’t sink in a thick batter), but you definitely can.

      1. Thank you Sally, I can’t wait to try it. My brother reminded me yesterday that my mom used to make a cc cake for him so I’m going to surprise him.

    1. Hi Margaret, I fear the pound cake wouldn’t cook properly as a larger loaf, so I recommend dividing between two 9×5 inch loaf pans.

  8. Hi Sally!
    I’m very excited to try this recipe this weekend as it’ll be my first Bundt cake!
    My question is in the baking temp …
    My oven does both convection and regular baking and wonder if you would recommend one over the other. Last week I made mini cupcakes and (as an experiment) did one batch regular bake, and one on convection at the same temp for the same time duration and they turned out very different (the convection turned out much darker).
    I assume your recipe is based on a regular bake temp. Do you have any recommendations or advice?
    Thanks for all your baking tips!

    1. Hi Charlene, I recommend baking on the conventional setting since most recipes (including my own) are written for conventional ovens. A general rule, when using convection, is to lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees F. I hope this helps!

  9. I made this with Red Mill Egg Replaced (my kiddo is Anaphylactic to eggs) and did it in two 8 inch pans. I ended up having to freeze it due to illness and it was delicious!

    Lots of cakes get dry and/or crumbly with the egg replaced, but this was great!

    So yummy I will definitely make it again

  10. Hi Sally! I am a very picky baker/cook and am very critical about most everything I cook! With that being said, I made your Cream Cheese Pound Cake, it was amazing, soooo moist & simply perfect! My family loved it so much! Thank you for this recipe that I have adopted as my “go-to” pound cake recipe! I just happened across your site, I hope to find more awesome recipes here in the future! Thanks again!!

  11. Hey…what do you grease your pans with and you really let it cool in the pan for 2 hrs before inverting? Im able to make a good pound cake, but have trouble with sticking, usually in one area. Maybe Santa will bring me the nordic pan for christmas! lol

    1. Hi Adrienne! My best trick for releasing bundt pans is to REALLY coat them with nonstick spray. I also let the cake completely cool in the pan. I hope this helps! 🙂

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