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 (360g) 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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569 Comments

  1. I was looking for a recipe close to my grandmother’s sour cream pound cake and came across your recipe. I made a couple of tweaks. I used 3 cups of sugar, no cream cheese and 8 oz of sour cream. Cake came out perfectly!

    1. This is NOT the perfect anything. I followed the recipe step by step and it came out DRY. Very disappointing. I also made your red velvet recipe and it came out dry and flavorless. Very very disappointing.

      1. Hey Natalie. I am a Le cordon bleu Paris trained pastry chef and I not only found this to be the best pound cake recipe I’ve ever made, and hers is the only recipe website I find whose recipes are truly consistent (and she does gram conversions for you ❤️). If this didn’t work it is not her fault. It came out absolutely perfectly and I followed her recipe and directions exactly, although I added 5 min to the baking time after checking. If you are having issues with her recipes get a scale and follow her weight measurements in grams, it’s really the only way to have your recipe come out exactly the same each time.

  2. Hi there,
    If I wanted to add walnuts to the recipe, do you know if it would still turn out ok?
    Thanks!

    1. Sure! I would add around 1 and 1/2 cups.

      1. Hi Sally,
        I made this recipes 3 times, and it is so addictive. I followed your advice to the tee. I’m not a baker, so, I was really pleased to be able to bake a delicious cake! Anyway, since I’m the only one in the household who likes cake, I’m trying to reduce calories, as I have to eat the whole cake on my own!! Can I use Erythritol in place of the sugar??? same amount???

  3. Made this today and it came out perfect. I have made a similar recipe many many times, everything was same except the sour cream. But I had sour cream at hand today and I saw this recipe.

    Changes I made: I added 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

    So good. You really can’t go wrong with this recipe. Key is beating the cream cheese and sugar, best is to use a stand mixer.

  4. I made this cake today and i think that everythings goes right and the cake is good but the pound cake haven’t the brown color on the top like the sally’s cake. Any advices? Thank you!

    1. I love this recipe. I’ve made it probably 15 times and it comes out perfect every time!

  5. Hi Sally – how long would you bake this cake using the mini Bundt silicone pans? (and – love everything about your site, your emails, your blog – can’t tell you have many friends I’ve recommended you to!)

    1. Hi April! I’m just seeing your comment/question now so my apologies on the delay responding to you. Thank you so much for sharing my site with others. Means a lot! Silicone pans usually require a longer bake time. I recommend following the baking instructions for my mini bundt cakes and extending the time if needed.

  6. Thanks for sharing! Made this for Thanksgiving and it was a hit. Wondering if I could add lemon juice & zest for a lemon version instead of the lemon flavoring mentioned above. Would any adjustments to the other ingredients be needed?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy, We are so happy this recipe was a hit! The best way would be to use lemon extract instead of juice. A little lemon zest would be delicious, too, and it wouldn’t alter the texture of the cake. Or you can try this lemon version. You can leave out the poppy seeds if desired.

  7. I have made this cake 4 times this month alone and it is gone almost immediately! I don’t usually like to read long posts surrounding the recipe but your advice on everything is all very valuable and makes a huge difference. I know it must have been frustrating going through tests that didn’t quite work out but just know that this is the BEST pound cake recipe EVER and you have some very grateful people out here. Thank you so much!!!

  8. I have read all the instructions and look forward to trying this recipe. However, I would like to use 2 separate 10″ X 4 1/2″ loaf pans rather than the bundt pan. First will this work and 2nd can I cook both at the same time on the same shelf? In the description I read, it appeared to me that you were saying to cook each loaf pan for @ 60″. Didn’t know if that meant separately or if it mattered. Please, someone, answer me ASAP as I need to get busy cooking. Thank you.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nita, You can bake two loaves at the same time if they fit side by side in your oven. Your loaf pans are bit larger so your cakes will be a little thinner, just keep an eye on them in the oven and check them a few minutes early as the bake time may be faster with thinner cakes.

  9. Anita Connally says:

    Can you use the recipe as written but cook in loaf pans rather than a Bundt or tradition pound cake pan?

    If so, how do you suggest adjusting baking time or temperature?

    Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anita, This batter fits wonderfully into 2 loaf pans – see recipe notes for details.

  10. Claudia L. Edwards says:

    This was my first pound cake. I added lemon zest to the batter. It provided a wonderful aroma. Thank you! While my guests enjoyed it, I found it to be a bit dry. Serving it with whipped cream and fresh blueberries and raspberries helped a lot. I might have cooked too long (95minutes), so I think It’s worth trying a second time!

  11. This is a beautiful cake in appearance but definitely doesn’t taste the same as a traditional cake recipe. I felt it lacked flavor on its own. Definitely better with berries or ice cream. All the basic tips make reading the long edition worth it.

  12. Hi Sally! I’d like to make this into a round layered cake for my daughter’s birthday using eight or nine inch rounds, four layers high with whipped cream between the layers and strawberries in the middle and on top. Please let me know if you think this will work and if so how long I should cook the 9-in rounds. Should I double the recipe? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, This recipe works best in a bundt pan or in two 9×5 loaf pans. It’s a dense cake, so I fear it would be too heavy for a layered cake. I’d recommend something lighter, like this Vanilla Cake.

  13. Just made this and it’s absolutely perfect. The contrast between the moist interior and the crumbly exterior is the biggest advantage of baking in a bundt pan.

  14. I made this recipe tonight! I have made many recipes through Sally’s baking addiction and every single recipe comes out exactly like the picture posted! This pound cake recipe is unbelievably delicious! I followed it exactly! This is absolutely going to be a family favorite! Thank you so much for sharing what you love!

  15. Concetta Martinez says:

    My post is not to take away from this recipe, as I am going to try it too.I came across this site and recipe because I was getting ready to make a Kentucky Butter Cake, which uses much of the ingredients in this recipe and similar to a pound cake, if not exact. But thought I might try something different. My Kentucky Butter cake uses the same amount of butter, 4 eggs, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda, I’ve been making it since I married, 44yrs, and always on the menu for holidays and birthday requests. I make it in a tube pan but have used bundt and lg muffin pans too. It is very similar to a Pound cake and the butter sauce that is poured on top of it while it is cooling, after poking holes throughout top, makes it such a moist cake, it could last for a week, but usualy only days in my house. I am not a fan of rum, which is a usual flavoring, so use vanilla, (homemade) and I experimented using sour cream with whole soured milk , and now use it all the time. I think, I have decided to make my Kentucky Butter cake and try incorporating cream cheese into the mix to see where that leads another time and this recipe as well, Better to stay with one I know today:)

  16. Just made this cake for my husband’s birthday. He loved it! Not to mention this was my first time making a cake from scratch!

  17. Hi Sally,
    We always love your cream cheese pound cakes as they are always so moist and decadent!!
    May I ask if it is possible to bake them
    into muffins / cupcakes in muffin pans?
    If so, how would the measurements and baking temperature / time like?
    Many thanks.

  18. Angela Monroe says:

    Hi Sally, I’m am super happy that I found your recipe for your cream cheese pound cake. I made cream cheese pound cake over and over and they were a disaster. I followed your directions and it came out perfect and delicious. Thanks

  19. Absolutely amazing!

  20. Linda Bellapianta says:

    Hi Sally!
    This was my first pound cake ever made in 60 years! It came out perfect! I love all your recipes and always refer to your blog anytime I bake anything…you never have let me down, always recommend to my friends! Thank you for sharing your talent with us… Linda Bellapianta

  21. This is the 1st time I make a pound cake. It was delicious. Cake is moist and we absolutely love it. Will do again for sure.

  22. Sheila Fulghum says:

    I followed the receipt to a tea. Cooked for 80 minutes and also covered top with tin foil half way. After 80 minutes took toothpick and went around top of whole cake. Showed it was done and the top of cake was not brown it was white and let cool when I cut cake it looked like your picture on the left and it tasted like it was missing something. Before I put cake in oven I double checked all ingredients

  23. Hi Sally,

    I love your recipes!! I wonder if I can use cream cheese spread instead of the cream cheese block? I’ve read all kinds of comments on the internet, some say it can’t be replaced, some say it can… I’d realy appreciate your expertice advise. Thanks a lot!! 🙂

    1. Hi Eri, thank you so much! It’s best to use block cream cheese in this recipe.

      1. Thanks a lot Sally! I happen to have lots of cream cheese spread in my fridge, and was wondering if I could use it for pastries or any baked goods.

  24. Yashica Friend says:

    I had never made a pound cake before. It was my mother-in-love’s 74th birthday and she refuses to eat anything from a box. The cake was perfect. I added the almond extract. She literally cut slivers for tasting and kept the other 3 quarters of the cake for herself. I followed the recipe exactly as typed. I was tempted to add another egg because my family teaches to always use a an odd number in baking.
    I am making the cake again. I’m waiting for the cold ingredients to get to room temperature.
    So anxious to eat it again.
    I should have doubled the recipe and made 2…I think I will

  25. I followed this recipe to a tee, and it came out a bit undercooked. That was my oven’s fault. The poke test came out clean. So I honestly thought it was done.

    The taste is amazing. I will definitely make it again. I might increase the amount of sour cream to half a cup, though, as it was just a touch dry. Again, that could have been due to the measurement as I used a measuring cup and not my scale, and not the fault of the recipe.

    Overall, great recipe. If I perfect the technique, it will definitely be a regular favorite to make.

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