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; 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 (345gcake 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

Sally’s Baking Addiction Email Updates

Sign up for email updates so you’re alerted as soon as I publish a new recipe!

464 Comments

  1. I am so excited ro try this recipe! I was wondering if I were to add poppyseeds to this cake, would the ending result be a success? What are your thoughts? (I haven’t dealt with poppyseeds in baking yet! And this texture looks exactly what I’m looking for, for a poppyseed cake!)

    1. Absolutely. I recommend at least 1 Tablespoon of poppy seeds. You can fold them into the cake batter at the very end before spreading into the pan.

  2. Sora O'Doherty says:

    Hi Sally, I am sure this is delicious, although I have not tried it yet. I find your recipes very reliable. My question is, can I bake this in a sheet pan to make petit fours for Valentine’s Day? Please answer quickly! Thanks soooo much.

    1. Sure can! See the instructions in my Petit Fours recipe.

  3. This recipe was a total hit! I topped it with a bourbon caramel sauce! Do you have any recipes for something similar with fruits? I have bananas and blueberries to use up and trying to thing of how to incorporate them into this!

    1. Hi Sarah! I don’t have this exact recipe with fruits included. I fear those additions would weigh down the batter and make it much too moist without making other changes to the ingredients. It would require some testing. You may enjoy my lemon berry yogurt cake though!

  4. I made two cakes today and wow, they were perfect and delicious. I did not make any changes to the recipe. This is my new go-to recipe. Thank you very much!

  5. Would this recipe work with mini loaf tins and/or cupcake tins?

    1. Definitely. However, this is A LOT of batter and would yield a significant amount of cupcake pans, as well as mini loaves depending how much batter your mini loaf pan holds. The bake time for either would be shorter, though I can’t be positive of the exact time. Let me know what you try!

  6. Hey there. I love the sound of this poundcake, but I have a question. Is there an option of making this a chocolate or fudge poundcake?

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

  7. Bettye L. Young says:

    Can I use an angel food pan for this cake?

    1. Hi Bettye! You can, yes, but your tube pan may hold a different amount of batter, so the bake time could change.

  8. Hey Sally,
    I will be using this recipe to make loaf tin cake with colored hearts inside. Do you think that it would work with this recipe? I was wondering if leaving the batter to sit for 1hr and 20 mins while I wait for the first cake to bake would effect the outcome? P.S I LOVE your recipes.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Ava! I haven’t personally tried this batter than way but I don’t expect any issues. Let me know how it turns out!

  9. Hi there I am diabetic and use sweetener mostly to great success, can you ad use if you think they would work here as you say sugar is very important to the recepie.
    Cheers
    Paul

  10. Sally, how long would you bake if using three 9inch cake pans?

    1. Hi Beth, I haven’t tested this recipe in 9 inch pans so I am unsure of the bake time.

  11. Do you think I could substitute whole milk ricotta cheese for the cream cheese? I thought I had cream cheese in my fridge, but sadly I do not

    1. Hi Abby! I fear the pound cake wouldn’t set up properly, but you can certainly try it if you’d like.

  12. Can self rising flour be used instead of cake flour ?

    1. Hi Linda! No, I recommend sticking to the recipe and using cake flour.

  13. Thank you. Can’t wait to try this one. I have done one similar with 1lb of butter and no sour cream but everything else the same. I like the idea of adding the sour cream! Pound cake does not last in this house!

    1. I hope you love it, Claudette!

  14. Can’t understand why you would let the cake sit in cake pan 2hour’s after baking.Why not turn it out onto a cooling rack?

    1. Hi Eve! The cake could stick if you invert it any earlier than that. I prefer cakes that are baked in bundt pans to cool in the pans because if inverted when too warm, they shrink down and could taste denser than intended.

  15. Hi Sally, I wanted to say that I’m really grateful for the weight measurements. I know it’s controversial for some, but I personally find I get more consistent results measuring by weight opposed to volume. I followed your recipe to a tee, including tenting with foil half way through baking and it is perfection. I made a lavender glaze to serve with it and it paired beautifully.

  16. Pam Avoledo says:

    The pound cake looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing the mistakes. Its good to know what to avoid.

    1. Hi Sally. Wondering if I can substitute the sour cream with yogurt?I’ve used yogurt in other recipes before with great results so was wondering if you think itll work in this one too?

  17. Christine stevenson says:

    This recipe deserves more than 5 stars! I have never made pound cake before because the few times I’ve had it I didn’t care for it. My husband likes it so I decided to make yours because your recipes are always far better than others! This pound cake was no exception. It was crisp on the outside, so creamy and smooth on the inside, and has the best taste I have EVER experienced in a pound cake! My husband was gobbling it down when it cooled! This recipe is so easy to make and came out perfect! Thank you so much for another stellar recipe! I never used to bake because I had no confidence in the kitchen. Now since I found your site I bake and cook all the time! I got a stand mixer last Christmas (it wasn’t a kitchenaide) and I have already burned it out because I make so many things. I bake at least six days a week now! From pizza, to cookies, to cakes and pies! Thank you Sally for being the best teacher and giving confidence when there was none before!

  18. I took a chance trying this recipe for the 1st time to make a birthday cake today. I baked it 45 minutes at 325, put the foil on top and finished it another 45 minutes at 320. The crust is slightly browner that I would prefer but otherwise it baked up great and came out of the pan great in a typical Wilton no-stick bunt pan. Next time I bake this I believe I will do the whole thing at 320 degrees, maybe even a little less because at 45 minutes in the crust was already as dark as it should be while the top and middle were still rather raw. Every oven is different! I will frost this with a creme cheese/butter/powder sugar frosting and sprinkles. My son likes “plain” cake, he calls it “regular cake” – just plain old cake, no flavors, no chocolate, no fruits, lol – but I didn’t want to just do a typical yellow box cake. I’m pretty sure he is going to enjoy this, especially the *fun* shape instead of the regular rectangle or round cakes. And I like to cook with creme cheese, it’s a flavor we all like. Thank you!

  19. What are the best brands of cake flour to use ?

    1. I love Swans Down!

    2. I made two loafs with this recipe and ended up baking them for 95 minutes (I’m thinking it’s my oven? Lol) I didn’t have sour cream so I ended up substituting with my sanco buttermilk and extra butter. Turned out great and beautiful golden color. I loved the idea of adding almond extract and my husband loved that flavor and said it was a super moist pound cake.

  20. Sharita Johnson says:

    I have baked a cream cheese pound cake before but without the sour cream. I did it your way, took it to work and it was an instant hit! Baking another one tonight as I only got a very, very thin sliced. My New Go To Cake Recipe. Thanks

  21. Latasha r Wilborn says:

    Hi, Sally, Can I turn this into a lemon pound cake?

    1. Hi Latasha! Here is my lemon version. You can leave out the poppy seeds if desired.

  22. Hi Sally, Doing some work from home/ baking these days. I have everything on-hand except the sour cream- any substitution suggestions?

    1. Plain yogurt would be great! Or you can try mashed banana if you’re in a pinch.

  23. Hi Sally,
    Could Greek yogurt be used instead of sour cream?
    Thanks,
    Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah! You can use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in a pinch.

  24. Baked this today while at home in isolation from …cake turned out fantastic!! Super moist, buttery and cream cheese gave it such a rich flavour. Such a hit with the family! Will definitely make again. Thanks so much Sally! Stay safe everyone!

    1. I’m thrilled that it was such a hit, Yen!

  25. Makisha brown says:

    Hi! Attempting this cake in the AM. Would all purpose flour work???

    1. If you don’t have cake flour, here is my cake flour substitute.

  26. Sondra Burke says:

    Thank you, this is literally getting us through !!! Some other recipes asked for too many eggs and we need those right now

  27. WOW YUM
    I halved the recipe and used the 9 x 5 loaf pan and added 1 teaspoon of almond extract at your suggestion. Baked for 64 minutes covered at 30. This is the most beautiful moist and flavorful poundcake we’ve ever had! Thank you again for your wonderful recipes

  28. Jennifer Drouin says:

    OMG !!! It was too good to be real! it should not be permited, the cake is that good!

  29. Jennifer Campbell says:

    Is it possible to let your ingredients become too warm? I left my butter out a bit longer than intended and it was very very soft. The cake turned out weird. Is this why!

    1. Hi Sally, thanks for the lovely recipe.
      I am not too sure can i cut the sugar, i have tried to follow the full recipe, 500 grams is a bit too sweet.

  30. patricia staley says:

    Hi Sally, I have salted butter instead would this work insteadof adding the salt?

    1. Hi Patricia, you should be fine with the salted butter. You may choose to eliminate the 1/8 teaspoon of salt if you desire. Enjoy!

    2. Hi Sally, I tried the Burndt Cream Cheese Cake and it came out super moist with a nice hint of cheese. However, the sugar was a bit on the higher side….can I reduce to 250g? My fam and self don’t have a sweet tooth.
      Thanks for your great recipes
      Irene

      1. Tabatha Griffin says:

        Can I use self rising flour

      2. I don’t recommend self rising flour, Tabatha.

1 4 5 6 7 8 9

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×