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.
Print
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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226 Comments

  1. Hi! Just curious, Can you use this recipe as cupcake? I am an avid fan of cream cheese lol anyway, if yes, what’s the baking temp & time for cupcake? Thanks

    1. Absolutely! I’m unsure of the exact baking time, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. Grease the muffin pan or use cupcake liners. Same oven temperature.

  2. don’t know what I did I followed the recipe to the exact. It fell in the middle. Not a pretty sight. I cooked it 80 minutes. When I flipped it over it was half darker then the other side. Never had this happen. Please tell me what went wrong. Puzzled.

  3. Absolutely delicious! I made the cream cheese pound cake on 4/2/19. I followed the directions exactly as given with one exception. I didnt have cake flour on hand. I used all purpose flour and removed 2 table spoons of flour PER CUP and replaced with 2 tablespoons of corn starch for each cup to make my own cake flour. (I double checked the directions online for making homemade cake flour.) I sifted the flour and corn starch together. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly as written, and the cake turned out beautifully! It’s the first pound cake I ever made that looked beautiful and tasted AMAZING! You need to make this recipe. Thank you, Sally, for this excellent recipe.

  4. I have made this recipe many times and everyone I have made it for they absolutely loved it. It was delicious.

  5. Hi Sally, thank you for all of your reliable and delicious recipes. I am making this for my husband’s birthday tomorrow and have two questions. 1: Can I use your “browned butter” technique (as referenced in your brown butter pound cake recipe) with this pound cake? 2: should I use convection bake it regular bake? Thank you in advance for answering my questions.

    1. I can’t see why not! I’m unsure of the exact bake time for that size. Keep your eye on them and use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  6. Hi, Sally! I would love to use this recipe using a lamb cake mold for the Easter holiday. I believe most lamb mold pans hold approximately 3-4 cups of batter. Would you suggest halving the recipe if I use the lamb mold versus the bundt pan?

  7. Not sure what happened…i baked it only 67 minutes and it looked like your picture of mistake #2. totally dry and overcooked. I bake a lot of your recipes and they all come out great but I have a lot of trouble with pound cakes! Hopefully ice cream and chocolate sauce can cover up the mess.

  8. Oh, My! This is the very best pound cake I have ever tasted. The best! Made this yesterday for strawberry shortcake. I can never use Angel Food cake from stores anymore. I was so surprised. I highly recommend this recipe. Thank you so much Sally

  9. Hi Sally,

    I made this recipe 4/13 and it taste so delicious I haven’t been able to stop eating it‍♀️. Anyway I have a regular oven and I did notice the temperature at 325 was too high so I lowered it to 300 and tented it with foil. The color was still a bit dark but it was still so moist inside. It took about 90min to cook. What temperature should I put it on to avoid it cooking on the outside before the inside?

    1. So glad you tried this one, thanks Karen! Sounds like 300F for your oven is best. Did you tent with foil the entire time? Because that will definitely help prevent too much browning.

  10. I think this may be my favorite pound cake. I did add the extra flavors I use my six flavor poundcake. Very good directions and very good texture. I think reducing the mixing time with the eggs and flour are the key to a tender cake. Thank you for your expertise.

  11. Sally I’m so happy I checked out your pound cake recipe. I’ve been having trouble with my cake sticking to the pan. I greased and floured to my heart’s content but it still stuck. Not until I read your comments did I realize I was over baking it. I checked it after one hour and 5 minutes and it came out perfect. Thanks do much!

  12. I want to make a lemon cream cheese pound cake could I just add lemon juice and zest or is it better to use lemon extract? Wasn’t sure if the juice would alter the chemistry in the cake

    1. The BEST way would be to use lemon extract. A little lemon zest would be delicious, too, and it wouldn’t alter the texture of the cake.

  13. I made this in a lamb cake mold for Easter (about half the batter; baked the rest of the batter in a 9″ round). It it fabulous. This is my new go-to recipe for Easter lamb cake. I did bake the mold at 350 degrees for one hour. It turned out perfectly. The 9″ round was done in 45 minutes. I baked them in separate ovens.
    If I ever bake all the batter in one large pan, I’ll keep the heat down to 325 as the recipe instructs.

  14. Oh this is the best pound cake ever!!! I need some serious help. I’ve made this 3 times all 3 times I have trouble getting it out of the bundt pan. Right now I am heating water to put in the sink with a towel to get this one out. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hey Valerie! Use A LOT of nonstick cooking spray (I like Pam brand). This is always my guaranteed method. I also swear by Nordic Ware brand bundt pans. Even if you’re using nonstick, use a good bit of cooking spray.

      1. I did use Pam, and a lot of it. It stuck more yesterday than last week. I love this pound cake enough to purchase another bundt pan. LOL it is so good. Thank you I am ordering the pan today.
        And Thank you for responding so quickly to my post.

  15. I’ve been making recipes from your site for so long, I figured it was time to leave a note! I made this last night and popped it out of the mold this morning. The taste is pretty amazing (was glad I added the almond extract) and the crumb is so even! However I do think I overbaked it and it came out a bit dry. I was afraid of underbaking and therefore waited until a skewer came out nearly perfectly clean (100~110 min IIRC). Next time I will take the cake out when there are still some crumbs. The batter was also so airy and light that it nearly filled the mold and spilled over a little through the middle of the pan. It stuck a bit, but not as bad as your “overbaked” picture. I was planning on slicing it before serving anyway, and will probably serve it alongside a bowl of some cream cheese whipped cream to add some moisture! Thanks for all your recipes and hard work!

  16. Hi I googled southern pound cake with cream cheese and was pointed to this recipe. I followed the directions exactly (I usually tweak with my own thoughts but not this time). Two things, I thought the 2.5 cups of sugar made it sweet and the sugar hardened the edges. I also used the exact bundt pan and it stuck to the pan. I used generous about of spray but I think the sugar needed it up. Everything else was on point, moist, flavor, dense.

  17. I must say this is THE BEST pound cake I ever had. I’m new to baking so I was terrified that I would mess up. I followed all instructions the only adjustment I made was removing 1tbsp of flour from each cup and replacing it with cornstarch. I didn’t have any cake flower. It baked perfectly. I loosely covered with aluminum foil so that top wouldn’t burn then removed it the last 20min. The almond added so much flavor. Brought half to my co workers and kept the other half. Amazing. Will definitely make it again.

  18. Delicious! I followed the recipe without modification. Sprayed and floured my Bundt, baked 85 min and after 30 min to cool it came out perfect, no sticking. Thanks Sally, you are my go-to for all baking.

  19. Best pound cake I ever made! I love to cook but I’m not much of a baker, thanks so much for your accurate instructions and little tips. I live in Europe so having equivalents in grams is great too (no need to spend time calculating everything). Being only 2 at home I halved the recipe and reduced the sugar to 180g. The cake was even tastier the next day. Thanks for your time, your failures and your passion, I will definitely try other recipes!

    1. Hi Chelsey! You can add fresh blueberries to the batter. Make sure the bundt pan is large enough as add-ins will create extra batter. The bake time may be a little longer too.

  20. Hi Sally,
    Just made this pound cake. So good! Actually the best! I do have a couple questions. I have “Doughmakers Brand” loaf pans 9x4ish , also have Nordic Wear Aluminum pans 9.5x 5? Anyway, I used the latter. I’m very confused as far as volume? One of the above comments asked if she could use mini pans 6×2.25. Is there a rule of thumb here ? LOL How much batter or how far up a pan should you go with the batter? So not to have overflow? Also I cooked them at 325, and ended up having to cook them at least 1 hour plus 20 min or so. They came out pretty good but the tops crumbled! Ugh! So bummed out! But soooo delicious! Do you have a favorite loaf pan that you love? Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. Hi Annette! You can divide this batter and bake two 9.5×5 inch loaves in the Nordic Ware pan you have. Or halve the recipe and bake one. I actually have and love that pan!

  21. Hi Sally
    Would you recommend this recipe for a sock-it-to-me cake? I wanted to add brown sugar, finely chopped walnuts, and dark chocolate chips.

  22. Sally,

    I had some extra batter leftover and decided to make cupcakes with it. My husband and I just ate the first testers and OH MY this is an incredibly perfect recipe. I can’t believe the creamy, dreamy, absolutely velvety smooth texture. I’m sure the cake will be just as amazing. I think I’m going to start making these as cupcakes! For reference, I kept the temp the same, and baked for about 20 minutes.

    Thank you for all your recipe testing!

  23. Hi Sally…
    Great tips to consider when making this pound cake, and I followed them to a tee. The flavor was delicious. I baked mine exactly 90 minutes but we felt the edges were too dry. My only explanation that I could think of is that I used an antique binds pan that was a little dark. I wonder if that made a difference. Plan on buying a Nordicware soon! What do you think?
    Love the site!
    Sue

    1. Hi Sue! Darker pans and quicker baking times go hand-in-hand and unfortunately, that doens’t translate over to a recipe that requires a LONG time in the oven. More often than not, the dark pan will simply overcook the edges. I’m confident that a new pan (I genuinely love Nordic Ware!) will lead to better results next time.

  24. Hi Sally. Hiw many 9” rounds do u feel I can use with this recipe? Also what temp & bake time would u suggest for 9” rounds?

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe in 9 inch round pans, but it does work in into two greased 9×5 inch loaf pans!

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