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.
  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.
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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. 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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215 Comments

  1. Followed the recipe to a T and it took just over 95 minutes! I think my bundt pan is a little small because it rose up slightly over the edges. I used a pie crust shield to keep the edges from burning. It smelled AMAZING as it was baking and it tastes even better! Light, fluffy, but a perfectly tight crumb. So excited to top this with fresh whipped cream and berries! Thanks for another perfect recipe!!

  2. Hi I’m new to your site.I wanted to ask if I don’t have sour cream is there any replacement for that ingredient.Thank you.

  3. I have been searching for a pound cake recipe that was not dry. Well I finally found it! I made your cream cheese pound cake last night and on my it is so moist and delicious!! I had to bake it 90 minutes total. I started checking it at 75 minutes. Perfect pound cake! I will continue to use this recipe as it is the best I have ever made. I used vanilla, coconut and lemon extract it’s do delicious!!
    Thanks for you amazing recipe.

  4. Unbelievable, magical, poundcake of all poundcakes! My goodness I feel like the goddess of the kitchen right now.
    I followed this almost to the letter. I didn’t have cake flour, so I just really fluffed up some White Lily All Purpose with a fork, then scooped and leveled and I used salted butter.
    The one tweak I made was to make this a lemon poundcake. I didn’t want to mess with the liquid/fat ingredients, so I didn’t want to add straight lemon juice.
    So what I did was to take the pulp and the juice from 3 large lemons (and I zested two of them first and set it aside), mashed it up really well in a small pan and cooked it down until it was reduced by about 2/3. Like a jam consistency. Super concentrated lemon taste without adding a lot of liquid.
    After mixing in the eggs, I added the lemon reduction (I reserved 2 T) and the zest.
    After baking, I glazed it with a glaze made from the reserved 2 T of lemon reduction and powdered sugar.
    This is the most amazingly perfect cake I’ve ever eaten.
    Velvety fine crumb, moist without being overly dense, and just melt in your mouth good.
    Thank you thank you for this recipe!
    I’m going to try it without any additions next, and then with any and every fruit that strikes my fancy.

    1. What a review! I enjoyed reading this and now I’m dying to try your lemon variation! Thanks for leaving all the details. 🙂

  5. Can I bake this in 9×5 bread pans? Would it make 2 loaves? And do you think the baking time would be different?

  6. Have you tried this recipe in regular pans? I have a wedding cake coming up and the bride requested a pound cake. Everyone I have tried so far is very dry.

    1. Hi Erika! I strongly suggest using cake flour for this recipe. It’s sold right next to the all-purpose flour. If you need to use all-purpose flour, you’ll have to mix it with cornstarch to yield the proper cake flour substitute. Here’s the ratio: Measure 1 cup of spoon and leveled all-purpose flour. Remove 2 Tablespoons. Add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift together. Do these 2 more times so you have a total of 3 cups.

    2. Sally, you have me convinced and am anxious to try this! I found your site looking for a good pound cake recipe. What I am interested to know is whether you have added fruits. I’d like to take advantage of the summer season (for ex peaches are in right now) but I’m not sure what adjustments might be needed. Thank you for any tips!

      1. Hi Erika! Fruit would be an excellent addition to this pound cake batter! Peel and chop them (depending on the fruit!) then blot the fruit dry if it’s extra wet. The cake may take a little longer to bake with the added fruit.

  7. My 11 yrs old son made this cake and added one extra egg as we had smaller eggs and the cake’s texture was so so so smooth. It was a delight to cut and eat. Hands down the best cream cheese pound cake recipe I have tried. Loved it and now a permanent bookmark.

  8. Thank you for this delicious recipe. I don’t have bundt tin yet so baked in two loaf tins. Sixty minutes was just about right. I added in some lemon zest and lemon extract and then took your lemon glaze from your lemon pound cake recipe. I think it is going to replace my favourite lemon drizzle cake recipe. I live in the UK so no access to cake flour. I’ve never heard the trick of substituting cornflour for flour before but it worked. Second weekend in a row I’ve used your site as last weekend it was two batches of Nutella brownies, one for work and one for home. All enjoyed and gone within two days. Thank you for easy to follow instructions but more so pre-empting potential pitfalls

    1. Hi Lynn! 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.

  9. Great dense and moist cake. I don’t think you need to cover halfway. I did and it was too light. Maybe cover if you need to by looking. Cooked to 210 on my Thermapen which was 75 minutes. Could of used a couple more minutes. Will definitely make again.

  10. My goodness…you were NOT lying when you said it was the best! I had a big family crew to feed last night that was helping us restore some log siding on our home due to my husband being down for three months and not able.
    I wanted to make them strawberry shortcake since the strawberries were plentiful here in Florida. The pound cakes at the store were expensive since I needed quite a few to feed them all…so I went online and found your recipe!
    Oh my goodness!!! It turned out perfect!!! I’ve never liked pound cake because everyone I’ve ever had were super dry…but let me tell you this cake was the moistest cake we’ve EVER had!!! The flavor was so rich! The only difference I made was using all-purpose flour since I did not have the time to buy the cake flour…maybe I will try the cake flour another day…but it is not necessary. The cake was perfect in the 90 minute time as quoted in the recipe. And I used the vanilla favoring…
    I am not one for giving reviews because I am always super busy with being a pastor’s wife and all that comes with it…but I am not kidding…you have to try this recipe out! You won’t regret it!!! Haha…we even decided to cut it right outta the pan…ten minutes after coming out of the oven because we didn’t care how it would look…it came out in beautiful pieces!!! Blessings and happy cream cheese pound cake to you!

    1. Thrilled to read this and so glad that you took the time to share! It’s definitely my favorite pound cake and I’m so glad many others are enjoying it too!

  11. I tried this cake and it was amazing!! For some reason my cake was done at 55 minutes, which seems way less compared to others. My oven doesn’t run hot as I use almost on a daily basis.
    I was wondering if you have a chocolate pound cake variation of this pound cake? I need one for an upcoming wedding.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Patricia! I actually don’t have a chocolate pound cake recipe I love… yet! Let me know if you ever find one you love.

      1. I have a wonderful chocolate sour cream poundcake I will share with you. I love it because it also has brown sugar in addition to the granulated sugar. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

        Chocolate Sour Cream Poundcake…aka The Cake!
        1 cup butter, softened
        2 cups sugar
        1 cup light brown sugar packed
        6 large eggs
        2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
        1/2 cup cocoa powder (or use 1/4 cup cocoa and 1/4 cup Special Dark Cocoa for a deeper chocolate flavor)
        1/4 teaspoon baking soda
        8 ounces sour cream
        1 tablespoon vanilla extract
        Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until yellow disappears after each addition. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream. Do not overbeat. Stir in vanilla extract. Bake in a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan @ 325-degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or test for doneness with a wooden skewer. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then cool completely on metal rack.

        Frost with Easy Fudge Frosting when cooled.

        1 stick butter
        1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
        2 tablespoons light corn syrup
        1 pound powdered sugar
        pinch salt
        2 teaspoons vanilla extract
        boiling water (or use strong, hot coffee in lieu of water)

        In microwave safe mixing bowl, melt butter and chocolate together in microwave. Stir until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat with electric mixer. (Mixture will be crumbly.) Add corn syrup and vanilla. Beat until incorporated. Add boiling water a tablespoon at a time and beat until spreading consistency. (Usually 4 tablespoons works for me.) Work quickly to ice cake. this will make enough frosting to ice the cake and fill the center “tube” part of the cake.

      2. So thoughtful of you to share this recipe!! Thank you so much. I bet it’s outstanding, especially with the brown sugar and sour cream.

    1. I’m sure there’s a pound cake recipe using only egg yolks, but if you’d like to try this one– I recommend the whole eggs.

  12. This is the best pound cake I’ve ever baked, and I’ve tried many recipes!My husband is a connoisseur of pound cakes and he agrees..I noticed someone asked about adding fresh blueberries do you think it would work to add fresh diced peaches to the batter.?..We live in the heart of peach country in South Carolina, and I’m always looking for ways to use them…Thanks for your wonderful recipes, and keep them coming!!!

    1. Hi Beth! So glad you love this pound cake, thank you! Peaches would be an excellent addition to this pound cake batter! Peel and chop them, then blot them a bit since they can be rather wet. The cake may take a little longer to bake with the added fruit.

  13. I made this cake for a going-away party for a coworker whose favorite cake is plain pound cake. It came out really terrific, with wonderful flavor, although it was just a tad bit drier than I would have liked. It tested done after 80 minutes. Do you think I maybe kept it in the oven a little too long? I will definitely make this again, only next time I’m going to remember to add some almond extract as well! Thanks for sharing this lovely cake!

    1. Hi Lizabeth! What a thoughtful going away party dessert! If it was a little dry, then yes, adjust the bake time slightly but keep your eye on it. Adding almond extract would be divine!

  14. I see it says any left over pound cake to refrigerate. I was wondering if u have to or can u put what is left in a cake cover and keep it on the counter or does it have to go in the fridge? I have one in the oven now, and cannot wait to taste it.

    1. Hi Cindy! You can definitely cover and store leftovers at room temperature for a few days or even longer in the refrigerator. Up to you!

  15. Hello again! I have since made three of these delicious cakes…and they are so good that they all have have cut straight from the oven and have not lasted more than a day…haha
    I am planning a Paris themed party for my daughter and her cousin this weekend…wondering if I could bake the batter in regular cake pans…and turn your recipe into a fraiser cake? Thank for sharing this delicious recipe with us all…blessings!!!

    1. Hi Sue! You can definitely bake this batter in regular cake pans. I’m unsure of the bake time as it depends on the thickness of the cakes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  16. The first pound cake I ever really liked was my I Mom-in-law’s recipe. I’ve lost it now and she’s gone so I searched by ingredients I could remember.
    Miss Sally, you are so very generous for sharing your recipe and trials of helpful information! This cake is amazing !! My husband agrees to the point of not sharing…with anyone! I can’t stop imagining ways to serve this.. So far, two cakes made and both just flawless. We’ve had it plain, with chocolate and strawberry ice cream. It’s mango season and what a treat to serve with a slice of cold fresh mango on top! He put watermelon on a slice lol. Fresh tropical fruits have a new canvas and it’s Miss Sally’s Perfect Cream Cheese Pound Cake.. drop the This will make a great gift, covered dish, holidays, every days lolol! Thank you

    1. What a comment! Thank you so much, Connie! I haven’t served the pound cake with mango before, but now I have to try. Love fresh mango!

  17. Thank you for cream cheese pound cake recipe, I made it yesterday and followed your tips , dos and donts… it was my very first pound cake!! And it was perfect ! Thank you very much!

  18. This was the best pound cake Ive had in a great while. I followed the recipe to a T except I added blueberries to the batter. The crumb is perfect; not too dry. This will now be my go to cream cheese pound cake recipe. Im having a slice right now with my morning coffee.

    Thanks!

  19. Hey Sally
    I really appreciate your wonderful recipes. I just made this Pound cake exact recipe and it came out wonderful. I don’t have a whole lot of confidence when it comes to baking but with your recipes I’m willing to give anything a try!
    Thank you so much

    1. I’m so glad that you gave this one a try and that you enjoyed it! Confidence will come the more you bake so keep at it!!

  20. I made this poundcake a few weeks ago. It was absolutely amazing. I now want to add fresh strawberries to the poundcake mix. Well it alter the results adding fresh strawberries? Thank you.

    1. Hi Cindy, Berries would be an excellent addition to this pound cake batter! Chop them and blot the fruit dry if it’s extra wet. The cake may take a little longer to bake with the added fruit.

      1. Thanks!! This was the best poundcake I have ever had. Everyone at the party wanted the recipe. Thank you so much for an awesome recipe.

  21. I live at high-altitude (4500 feet) and I just took the cake out of the oven….OMG; what a delicious looking cake. The changes I made were simple: raising the oven temp to 350°F and baked it for 1-1/2 hours. I made NO changes to the ingredients or amounts used. I did not need to tent the cake as mentioned in the directions. I did not “bang” the cake on the counter to release air bubbles…being at high-altitude, you need all the air bubbles you can get to help raise a cake. Also, I baked the pound cake on the lowest shelf rack in my oven; not on the middle rack as you would for a regular cake.

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