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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647 Comments

  1. Karen (not THAT Karen) says:

    I’ve now made this recipe exactly as printed about a dozen times and it is wonderful every timeI I usually use a Bundt pan, but have also made two loaf pans that are equally a good, and the baking times listed are spot-on. I add the almond extract you recommend, too. I have my own technique for adding eggs to batter, though. I separate them, whisk the whites until very frothy, then blend in the yolks. Then I pour in about one egg at a time to my batter as normal. It emulsifies so much faster and easier, and gives my cakes a fine, delicate crumb. This is THE ONLY recipe for pound cake! It is fantastic with a bit of fruit and clotted cream, a dollop of lemon curd, or just plain, especially when it’s still warm from the oven! Thank you, Sally!

  2. Karen (not THAT Karen) says:

    Oops! I left a comment but forgot to put 5 stars on it! This is an exceptionally good recipe!

  3. Hi Sally! I’m so happy to have found your page. I’m a fairly new Baker, but I’ve been surprisingly successful at this new skill I’m acquiring. Some of the tricks you use to ensure your pound cake is moist, I’ve been doing as well. My question is relating to the mini pound cakes. What size pan are you using for the mini’s? I have 4 six inch mini bundt pans and was wondering if the mini bundt cake recipes and instructions could be used for those??? OR do I need to use the regular recipe? I want to get these mini measurements together.
    Thank you in advance,
    You new loyal fan!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andria, For the mini bunt recipe we use this pan (each cavity is about 3.5 inches wide)
      For your pans you can use either recipe and the bake times and yields vary with the pan you use. For either one fill the 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.

  4. This recipe states that cake flour is a must, but the mini’s recipe calls for all purpose flour. I want to make the mini’s in my mini bunny cake pan, for Easter, so should I use all purpose flour or cake flour?
    Thank you:)

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary! We would stick with all purpose flour for the mini pound cake recipe. Happy baking!

  5. I’m thinking of adding some Oreo crumbs into the batter to get some texture in between bites. Can I get your advice for that?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Azzah! We haven’t tested it so can’t say for sure! You could try folding oreo crumbs in at the end, though they could dry out the batter. Let us know what you try!

  6. paula j wallrich says:

    I haven’t tried this yet but love all of your other recipes so am sure will love it. I have a lamb mold for easter- probably won’t take as much as bundt but I can put leftover in a little loaf pan. Do I use cake flour- noticed you said AP for small bundts- don’t understand why not using cake flour for all. Thank you– love your sugar cookies!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Paula! Cake flour keep this large pound cake from being too dense and heavy, all purpose works just fine for smaller, lighter bundt cakes. For your easter lamb mold, we would stick with cake flour. Would love to hear how it goes!

  7. Just made this tonight and it is delicious!! Super moist which is exactly what I was looking for (other pound cakes I have found to be dry). Used the cake flour substitute recipe and worked perfectly. Took around 95 minutes to bake.

  8. Kristin Jones says:

    Can this be made into cupcakes ? If so what to adjust for baking time and all purpose or cake flour?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kristin! A few readers have tried this pound cake recipe as cupcakes. Same ingredients, oven temperature, and bake for about 20 minutes. They won’t rise too much. Fill about 3/4 full. Enjoy!

  9. Bernadette M Roden says:

    I am using this for lamb cake pans. Does this make 10 cups of batter or 12?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bernadette, I’m unsure exactly how many cups of batter this yields. We’ve actually never measured it! So sorry about that.

      1. Bernadette Roden says:

        I made a double batch today and it makes 3 lamb cakes, in case anyone else would like to know.

  10. This is the BEST pound cake I’ve ever tasted. My family loves it, too!! I’m making loaves tomorrow instead of the bundt— very inexperienced baker here, so my question is, can I cook both loaves at once or do I put each loaf in the oven individually? If it’s one at a time, do I refrigerate the other loaf until it’s time to bake? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Ashley, we’re so glad that you enjoy this recipe! You can bake both loaves at the same time.

  11. I’m excited to give this cake a try. Will the consistency of this cake hold up as a lamb cake? Thank you.

    1. Hi Melinda, it should yes. But the cake will be quite heavy and dense since this is a pound cake.

  12. Katie Miller says:

    Hi Sally. I’m really excited to make this after not having much luck with other recipes online and them turning out a bit oily! I’m going to half the recipe for one loaf tin, do I still need to cover it with foil half way through the bake? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie, we’d still recommend covering it with foil part way just to ensure the top doesn’t brown too quickly before the insides are fully baked. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

  13. Louise Gammage says:

    I have made this cake a bunch of times, following the recipe exactly, and it always turns out great. It is so delicious. Best cake I have ever eaten!

  14. This was a very easy cake to make. It was my first time making a cream cheese pound cake and it came out perfect.
    Thank you

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