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.
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.
Here’s Why You’ll Love This Pound Cake Recipe
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.
Ingredients You Need & Why
Here are the ingredients for cream cheese pound cake and why each is used.
- Butter: Butter is the base of pound cake. You need 3 sticks of room temperature butter.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- Vanilla Extract & Salt: Both are used for flavor. See recipe notes for more flavors.
- Eggs: Eggs are the workhorse of pound cake– the main ingredient carrying all the weight. You can’t make pound cake without eggs.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Here’s How You Make The Most PERFECT 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Add dry ingredients: Add the dry ingredients right into the same mixing bowl.
- 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! 🙂
- 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.
- 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, raspberry sauce, strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce, and/or homemade lemon curd. The topping from my pecan pie cheesecake would also be fantastic spooned over each slice. There’s a simplistic beauty about pound cake– it doesn’t need glaze, frosting, bells, or whistles.
4 Final 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.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours
- Yield: serves 12-14
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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!
- 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 (354g) cake flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- optional for serving: homemade whipped cream & fresh berries
- Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Not 350°F. Generously grease a 10-12 cup Bundt pan with butter or nonstick spray.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Slice and serve with optional toppings like homemade whipped cream & fresh berries.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | 10-12 Cup Bundt Pan | Cooling Rack
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Reader Comments & Reviews
Loved this! Absolutely delicious on its own.
Excellent. Finally a cake I don’t mind spending time baking. Thank you
Hello 🙂 ! This cake looks delicious. I want to ask a baking question that you experts might be able to answer…my husband has a sensitivity to baking powder and baking soda. I have been looking for birthday cake recipes (other than “7-up cake”) that do not have baking soda in the recipe. 1. Would this cream cheese pound cake recipe turn out without baking soda/powder? 2. Do you know if I could use carbonated water in place of baking soda in birthday cake recipes, and if yes how much would you recommend? Thank you so much for any help you can give!
Hi Christine, we haven’t tested this substitution, but fear it might leave your cake very dense.
I love this recipe. I made it this past weekend for my church family. They absolutely loved it. Thanks so much for the notes you add. They are very helpful. Thanks Sally.
I followed this recipe EXACTLY, which is quite unusual for me (generally, I use recipes as a guideline 🙂 ). The cake turned out beautifully! I beat the butter and cream cheese together very well (starting w/ room temp ingredients) and then beat it with the sugar until it was really pillowy. Added eggs one at a time and just enough mixing after flour was added. The cake is soft and moist, dense and very tasty. Thanks, Sally!
I am a self taught baker, and have tried many pound cake recipes that failed over the years. It’s always dry and heavy, even with me following the directions to the T. I want to master pound cakes like I have my other cake recipes. This is the first time I’ve seen in the instructions to loosely tent the cake with aluminum foil, will I be just putting the foil over the cake pan? ((It maybe a stupid question, but I just wanna make sure I will be doing it right. As stated I’m trying to master pound cakes, lol))
Hi Tip, correct, you’ll want to lightly place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan. You can get an idea of how we do it in the blueberry pie post (although you won’t need to cut out the hole in the middle like we do for the pie). Hope this helps and that you enjoy this pound cake!
I’ve never had a fail with any of your recipes except this one. I followed the recipe exactly, step-by-step, including all of the tips. I halved the recipe and cooked a loaf in a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan for a full 95 minutes (tenting it with foil at 45 minutes. The flavor was awesome but the center was uncooked. I reheated the oven to 325 degrees and cooked it for an additional hour – no change.
I’ve made dozens of your recipes with success. Very curious what went wrong with this one.
Hi Ray, it’s odd that the center wasn’t cooked after 2.5 hours in the oven. Have you tried the fill recipe yet by chance? I wonder if there was a mis-measure or mistake when halving the ingredients. If you try the recipe again, see if using a little more flour in the halved recipe helps, such as 1 and 3/4 cups (about 210g) instead of 1 and 1/2.
I can’t wait to try your recipe! I have Softasilk enriched cake flour bleached by Pillsbury. Is it okay to use that? Thank you in advance. Sharon
One more question I forgot. So can I line my bread pans with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to lift out? If I can do I want to grease bottom of pan first, and then lie parchment paper down?
Hi Sharron, that should be fine! We spray the pan with non-stick spray, line with parchment, and then spray again. Enjoy!
I can’t wait to try your recipe! I have Softasilk enriched cake flour bleached by Pillsbury. Is it okay to use that? Thank you in advance. Sharon
I am going to make this for Father’s Day but I only have salted butter. Will that work ok?
Hi Deanna, You should be fine with the salted butter. You may choose to eliminate the 1/8 teaspoon of salt if you desire. Enjoy!
I would love to try this recipe for my son-in-law’s birthday. Trying to avoid a dry cake and also the crust on this one looks amazing. His favorite flavor is key lime. Would adding about 3 tablespoons of key lime juice work for this cake? I was thinking of reducing the vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Many thanks Sally! Your site is so fun!
Hi Brenda! The best way would be to use key lime extract (adding key lime juice would change the texture too much). Lime zest would be delicious, too, and it wouldn’t alter the texture of the cake. Let us know what you try!
This was amazing, terrific texture. Thinking about using brown butter, is it advisable? What modifications would I need to make? I love this website, the recipes are so well explained. My favorite feature is the added information on how to make it ahead of time, in various steps ,so helpful for scheduling . Thanks to the whole team at Sally!
Hi Margo, we haven’t tested this recipe with solidified brown butter, but you can certainly try! It will have remarkable flavor.
I have never replied to an online recipe blog before but this cake is everything and more that the recipe states!!!!!!! It’s the perfect pound cake!!! I used Pillsbury all purpose flour, minus 2 tablespoons per cup, and followed the recipe exactly as written and was extremely pleased with the results!!!! Thank you for sharing this!!! I cannot wait to make the homemade vanilla!!!
This is now my number one go to baking site!
Hi Sally. I love this recipe and I bake it often. As we are a family of chocolate lovers I was wondering if I could add cocoa powder to this recipe. If so, how much.
Hi Royce! We don’t actually have a chocolate pound cake recipe that we love. However, if you’d like to experiment, you can definitely add chocolate chips to this pound cake batter. We recommend 1 and 1/2 cups. Some bakers like to (very) lightly coat the chocolate chips in flour before adding to the batter to help from sinking. Enjoy!
Hi Sally, quick question…I am new to cake flour, ive been using all purpose flour since I started baking and I’m interested in this cake flour…. which brand do. you usually buy or do you always diy?
Hi Mercedes! We usually use Swans Down or King Arthur brand cake flours.
I made this for my boyfriend’s birthday today and it was fantastic. It look about 82mins to cook and I used yogurt instead of sourcream as I didn’t have any on hand. Taste and texture are absolutely fantastic, like a rich angelfood cake almost… topped with strawberries and was a hit. Thanks, Sally!
Absolute delicious perfection
I just took this cake out of the oven and wish I could show you how beautiful it looks. But pound cakes seem to not always turn out right for me and since you’re an expert baker I would like to ask you a couple of questions. I’m always hesitant to take the cake out of the oven to test it because I’m afraid that it will fall. Is that a valid fear? If a cake is fully done, it should not sink at all after it cools, is that correct? Also, There always seems to be a crumb or two on the wooden pick that I use. Am I looking for a liquidy result if the cake is not done? I love baking and this seems to be my biggest issue and downfall. Thank you for your help.
Hi Kathy, So glad this pound cake worked well for you! If a cake sinks, it’s likely undercooked and the middle is still too raw. You could add a few minutes to your bake time and if you notice the tops getting brown before the center is finished you can cover loosely with foil.
Hi, Kathy. I liked your question, and I have the same question. Unfortunately, it wasn’t addressed by this response.
Please, Sally, respond to this! What is the proper procedure (the steps) for checking for doneness for a cake? Do I need to reach into the oven and keep the cake inside? How worried do I have to be that checking the cake will cause it to fall or be negatively affected when I open the oven door? Thanks.
Hi Kathy and Jann! I always like to pull the baked good out of the oven and close the oven door to check the baked good for doneness. Because leaving the oven door open too long will bring down its temperature. I test it with a toothpick, usually. For cakes, muffins, and quick breads, I also like to lightly poke the center with my finger (careful! it’s hot!) and if the baked good bounces back, it’s done. If it stays indented, it likely needs more time. This could be done for pound cakes. When using a toothpick, you want zero wet/raw batter. A few moist crumbs are typically ok.
Ok! Make this exactly to the recipe but the top was perfect but the cake was dark when I turned it over.
Hated this cake. Followed directions to the letter. Has a strange after taste. Going back to old recipe.
My husband has been ill (happily on the mend now), but we’ve been unable to keep our lawn mowed. Today our kind neighbor and his son just knocked on the door and offered to cut it — and of course would not accept any cash. So, in gratitude, I made them this marvelous cake. I used a teaspoon-and a-half of lemon flavoring rather than the vanilla. Then I added a tangy lemon-lime sauce in a little container to be served, heated, on the side. It made such a lovely presentation. The neighbors seemed very pleased, and the whole episode just made me feel so good. Thank you, Sally for your wonderful website and solid advice. I have never had a failure with one of your recipes. I even mastered your Star Bread during quarantine. You’re the best!
That’s so kind of you, Jann — we’re thrilled it was such a hit!
Can I use a tube pan instead of a bundt pan? Just trying to get my money’s worth from a tube pan purchased for Angel Food Cake…
Hi Vera, we haven’t tested this pound cake in other cake pans, but you can certainly give it a try. A tube pan should work! Just check the size of your pan–it may be that it’s a 10-inch tube pan when a recipe calls for a 12-inch bundt pan, so you could end up with too much batter. Best of luck!
I make all of my pound cakes in tube pans. They turn out delicious. Just remember use crisco and flour to grease the pan. Cooking spray prevents the cake from rising to its full height.
Great recipe, loved by all. I added a little extra vanilla and a bit of almond extract. Made this recipe into smaller cakes and brushes them with simple syrup and filled with Sally’s Lemon Curd and fresh blueberries rolled in simple syrup.
Would post a pic but there wasn’t an option to attach.
Dang, I wanted to see that!
I am 75 and have been making cakes since I was a kid but pound cakes in a Bundt pan, no matter what I do or use when greasing and flouring, always get stuck so I used two loaf pans for this. It came out really tasty and the consistency was great. I would have given it five stars but I was afraid to mix too much when I added the eggs and it seems, either that or some other ingredient did not mix so well and you can see that when looking at some of the slices. . Still it didn’t affect the taste or consistency and my friends and I loved it. The other small problem was it took so long for the middle to get done and the ends, though not dry, were a bit too done. I’ll make it again sometime and try mixing it more at all the mixing stages.
Hi Sabrina! You might try using homemade pan release (aka GOOP), then dust the Bundt pan with granulated sugar instead of flour. I’ve never had a Bundt stick using this “belt and suspenders” method.
GOOP is just equal parts flour, oil, and shortening (like Crisco). Warm them up and stir together, put in a mason jar and keep in your pantry. You use a pastry brush to coat pans before baking. Works so much better than any spray! If you’re dealing with a fussy cake or pan, you dust an extra layer of flour/cocoa/sugar on top of your GOOP.
This looks amazing !! Is the sour cream essential ? It’s something I struggle to find and wondered if it was more of a nice to gave, if if something else might work ?
Hi Steph, plain yogurt would be the best substitute if you have that on hand. Enjoy!
I always make mines without the sour cream and it comes out moist and delicious every time. My family goes crazy over it.
This cake is so terrific that even missing half the butter (I read 1-1/2 cup as 1-1/2 sticks) it’s wonderfully moist and delicious. My mistake with the butter is likely the reason this only needed about 75 minutes in the oven. I WILL bake it with the correct amount of butter next time though. Thank you, Sally!
Outstanding! Your recipes never steer me wrong. Mine came out slightly over baked, Did 45 un-tented and 45 tented. Next time I may try only 35 or 40 tented. Flavors were wonderful and texture was amazing.
My new favorite cake. This cake is Soo delicious. I added a cup and a half of flour coated chocolate chips and indeed it with buttercream for my son’s first communion. That cake was a hit. I’ll be keeping this front of mind for all future cakes. Yum!
This was my first ever pound cake (no idea why I waited so long to make one) and it is delicious! Moist and dense – just like it should be. And the mixture of the almond and vanilla extracts are wonderful. I made it for my mother for Mother’s Day. Another fabulous recipe. This is why Sally’s is the website I go to first for all my baking.
This recipe doesn’t call for almond just vanilla ….should I use both? If yes, how much of each…I like the flavor of both all different and vanilla
One of Sally’s notes – found just below the recipe – includes the option to add 1 teaspoon of almond to the cake mixture. Basically, that equates to using 2 teaspoons of vanilla, per the recipe, plus adding 1 teaspoon almond.
I have made this recipe more then once. It is absolutely delicious! Never fails but does require patience while cooking. Use a toothpick to make sure it had cooked all the way through.
I’ve made a lot of different pound cakes through the years.id never used cream cheese,only sour cream…made the cake flour using the corn starch,and followed all directions, and oh my.this is the BEST pound cake I’ve ever made or eaten. what a delight!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.i will never use another I have found perfect pound cake!