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. 

slice of cream cheese pound cake on a white plate with whipped cream and berries

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.

overhead image of cream cheese pound cake on white ruffled cake stand with berries in the center

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.

slices of 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!

2 images of pound cake batter in a glass bowl and in a cake pan

Cream cheese pound cake in cake pan after baking

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!

2 images of 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 on a white cake stand with berries in the center

Cream cheese pound cake on a white ruffled cake stand

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.
Print
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slice of cream cheese pound cake on a white plate with whipped cream and berries

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; 345gunsalted 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 (354g) 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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588 Comments

  1. Omg..I am NOT a baker..have done this recipe 5 times and it has always come out perfect! My guy loved it so much he asks me once a week if I’m making another one! Made it for Thanksgiving and no one at any of the pies offered..am bring ingredients to room temperature as I text!! Litter the BEST pound cake EVERY!!!

  2. Do you have a recipe for carrot cake cheesecake combo?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Barbra, you might enjoy this Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Bundt Cake!

      1. That looks delicious!

  3. I just made this cake and it’s delicious. Mine took 80 minutes and didn’t need tin foil. The crust is very thin and the cake is moist and rich. Thanks this is a keeper!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, We’re so glad you loved it!

  4. Hi! I really want to make this cake with a lemon profile. How many tablespoons of zest do you recommend I add to the batter? Also would adding a tablespoon of lemon juice alter the cake batter too much?

    P.S. I know you have an iced lemon recipe, but it doesn’t include the cream cheese that I’m wanting to include!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jess, The best way would be to use lemon extract (1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon). A little lemon zest would be delicious, too, and it wouldn’t alter the texture of the cake (amount depends on how much lemon flavor you’d like — you could start with a tablespoon or two and adjust for future batches). Let us know what you try!

  5. Can leave out the sour cream? Also, can I add cranberries to this?

    Thanks.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen! If you leave out the sour cream, your pound cake will be much too dry. You could try swapping a plain yogurt in it’s place if you don’t have sour cream. You can definitely add cranberries – we would try 1 – 1.5 cups. Let us know how it goes!

  6. Can’t wait to make this for my daughter’s birthday! I’m doing a heart inside cake so would it be ok to bake one loaf pan (which I’ll cut the hearts from) and then bake the 2nd cake using the remaining batter? Would having the batter rest for 60-90mins have an affect on the cake?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Reema! The batter should be OK at room temperature while you wait for the first batch to bake.

  7. Hi,

    Would I be able to make this in a Nordic Mould?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      As long as it’s the correct size, absolutely!

  8. I am very excited to make this for a Christmas party this weekend as EVERYTHING I make from this site is a hit. I plan to make it in a stand up tree pan. How many cups of batter does this make? (I know it says to bake in a 10-12 cup bundt pan so I am assuming around that much?)

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, we’re unsure exactly how many cups of batter this yields. We’ve actually never measured it! So sorry about that. However, it would be a little less than 10-12 cups since we don’t fill the Bundt pan completely to the top.

      1. Thank you for the fast reply! (I only need 6 cups so I just wanted to be sure I didn’t have to double it)

  9. I really love this pound cake! I have just one slight problem with it each time and that is it doesn’t brown real well on the bottom but especially on the top. If I let it cook longer it will dry out inside. Does anyone have any tips. I tried turning on the broiler, but that makes it look not too pretty, it gives it a kinda fake browning look.

  10. My mom added marachino cherries and walnuts. It was called Russian Poundcake. Can I add those to this recipe? And where in the process do I fold them in?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Billy, we haven’t tried cherries in this recipe. We would recommending adding 1 1/2 cups total of walnuts plus cherries. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

      1. Kristin Hughes says:

        I can’t wait to make this this afternoon I have got all the ingredients except sour cream and cream cheese I also need to get almond extract I hope it’s as pretty as yours and I hope it’s as good as yours this is my 1st time making this but I love pound cake.

  11. OMG!!! I’ve tried so many recipes. My husband is the true test. He said it was the best cake EVER and I’m not a baker.
    I did over cook mine the edges were burnt but the inside was still moist and tasty. I can’t wait to try it again without overcooking it lol.

  12. OMG–this has to be the absolute best pound cake–THANK YOU! My late grandmother made a butter pound cake that was out of this world, but, sadly, I didn’t get a complete recipe for it from her before she died. My late mother was also a very good baker, but she did pies and cheesecakes, not pound cakes. And I do have a “second” mom, who was very much like a sister to my mother, and she made a pound cake that rivaled my Granny’s, but she’s quite elderly now and doesn’t bake anymore, and she made her cake from memory. And so I’ve been on the hunt for a great pound cake recipe and have finally found it in this one. My only alteration to the recipe is that I used 1-1/2 cups each of cake flour and all-purpose flour (and I also cut back the sugar slightly to just a bit over 2 cups). It baked perfectly and the result was outstanding: a little more dense than all cake flour, but not quite as heavy as all all-purpose flour, and plenty sweet.

  13. Do you make on regular bake or convection bake setting?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Terri! All of the recipes on this site are written for conventional (not convection) settings.

      1. Thank you so much! And one last question, does it have to be refrigerated if serving within 24 or so hours?

      2. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Terri, it will be fine to leave this cake at room temperature (tightly covered!) overnight. Enjoy!

  14. Anyone know how I could adjust for mini bundts? 🙂

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Audrey, for mini pound cakes, the bake times and yield will vary with the size pan you use. Fill your pans 2/3 full with batter. When the cakes are lightly brown and spring back when lightly poked with your finger, they are done. You can also use a toothpick to test for doneness. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out *mostly* clean with zero raw batter. Or see our recipe for Mini Vanilla Pound Cakes instead.

  15. Marian Jenkins says:

    Haven’t try it yet but was wondering can you use a sugar Alternative.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marian! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!

  16. My cake was very dry after a day. The outer edge was very dry. The instructions indicated to leave the pan for about 2 hours to cool. I think that my Nordic ware pan was too heavy for that cake.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sandra! It’s a large cake, so it’s easy to over-cook. An easy fix if you wish to try it again is to check it a bit sooner. Make sure you’re spooning and leveling your flour, too– too much flour could also dry out the cake.

  17. This cake is really delicious! My oven runs a little hot so I bumped the temp down to 315 and didn’t have to put tinfoil on it. It turned out so good. Now I will say, it’s a little lighter on the texture side than what I’m use to when it comes to a pound cake. I may have overmixed, I’m not sure but mine was in between a pound cake and an angel food cake. Either way it was really delicious and I will certainly be making this again with almond extract. Thank you for this recipe!

  18. This said cake flour- not everybody buys cake flour- you should have commented what to use if you didn’t use cake flour. I used self rising and what a total flop! After all those ingredients and to have to trash it- what a shame.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Judy! Here’s our homemade cake flour substitute for next time. Self raising flour has raising agents mixed into the flour already and is not a suitable swap for all purpose or cake flour. Thanks for giving this cake a try!

    2. They wrote in the notes that cake flour is required – but that you could make your own substitute, which was also included in the notes.

    3. Readers are leaders, Judy. All information was provided in the notes regarding cake flour substitute. No need to be ugly to Sally because you didnt bother reading.

  19. This is really the best pound cake recipe I had.. Thank you so much Sally for sharing your recipe.. I did follow your instructions only I didn’t have cake flour so I shifted my all purpose flour hoping it would still come out great. It did. All who’s out for a perfect homemade pound cake recipe, This is the one… easy to follow. Can’t wait to slice it… Came out PERFECT..

  20. Hi Sally, I have made this cake for at least 5/6 times so far. Every time it turned out perfect until now. This time It rose very well and when I tested for doneness after 80 minutes the tooth pick came out clean. However after I took the cake out of the oven the cake deflated at least 1.5″ and after cutting it , it looked like it was under baked. I am wondering how did this happen ? If the cake was under cooked how come the batter did not stick to the tooth pick even though I tested at 3 different places. Did my cake deflate because it was undercooked ? If I had put it in the oven after it deflated would the result have been rectified ?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nishi! So glad you love this cake recipe! Yes, it sounds like your cake was simply under-baked this time. Make sure to stick your toothpick as far into the center of the cake as you can (using something longer like a skewer may work better for a cake this size). We don’t recommend placing a cooled cake back into the oven.

      1. First of all thanks for always -always replying to questions we post. Your site and recipes are simply amazing.
        Yes, I did use the skewer, even though I used the word tooth pick, and I stick it up to the base of the pan. I have been baking for years and this has never ever happened before.
        I understand the cooled cake won’t rise again but If i had put it back in right away after it deflated do you think it would have risen again ? It deflated within a minute. Interestingly, it still tasted delicious and the whole cake was goine in two days . Thanks

  21. This recipe is perfect!! It was delicious!! I have a new oven so the baking time was just 55 minutes. Definitely do the toothpick test to make sure you don’t bake it too long. Thanks for sharing!

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