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.
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


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; 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


  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.


  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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  1. what’s an equitable substitute for cake flour, I use plain flour most times.

  2. Hi Sally! Looks like the batter has curdled after adding the eggs. Has this happened to you before?

    1. Hi Adoree! Curdled wet ingredients is completely normal from the varying textures trying to combine. The batter will come together once you add the dry ingredients.

  3. Even at 325 for 100 minutes, mine ended up very under baked (not quite as bad as your picture). Two toothpicks both came out clean, so I thought it was done! Any tips to better determining the doneness of the cake? My partner loves the flavor and will gladly eat this under baked cake anyway, but I’d like to perfect my process for the next. Thanks for this flavorful recipe!

  4. Perfect pound cake. Absolutely perfect. The tips were great too. This is be my go-to bundt cake recipe for gifting and church breakfasts and just about everything. Thank you!

  5. Best pound cake I have baked or eaten in a very long time. It is absolutely delicious. The detailed instructions are very helpful.

  6. Have you tried this recipe baked in a 3D easter type mold (bunny or lamb)?

  7. Made this today. Best cream cheese pound cake I’ve ever had (that includes my mother’s)

  8. Hello can I use extra large eggs that’s all I have available will the quantity change?

  9. Hi Sally
    Is there any substitute for sour cream?

    1. Hi Chandini, You can try plain yogurt.

      1. Devonya Dunn says:

        Hi Sally,
        Will it make a difference if I use low fat sour cream? That is all I could find.

  10. Hi
    I only have whipped cream cheese. Will this work?

    1. I don’t recommend it.

  11. Mary Robinson says:

    I followed this to the letter, thank you sharing the fails as well! This cake was amazing!!

  12. Oh Sally. I’m so nervous. I’m going to try this cake tomorrow. Should I use table salt or kosher salt? Thank you!

    1. Either work– I use the same amount no matter which I use. Let me know how you like it!

      1. Oh Sally!!! OMG! I am not a cook or baker…but this cake was a HITTTT! Everyone loved it. Thank you so much!!! You ROCK!!!

  13. I want to make this in a 9×13 pan. What would the cook time be?

    1. Hi Jennifer! This recipe works best in a bundt pan or in two 9×5 loaf pans. It’s a dense cake, so I fear it would be too heavy and squat in a 9×13 pan. Feel free to try it– I’m unsure of the exact bake time.

  14. Marcia Schwefler says:

    This sounds fabulous. I am celiac. Is there a Gluten free cake flour in King Arthur brand? I usually use a vanilla gf cake mix but it makes a smaller cake in Bundt pan. I would like to keep ingredients as close to yours.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Marcia! Thanks! I’m unsure, but you can definitely check their website to see if they carry the product you’re looking for.

  15. It’s great and I would have given it 5 stars but its just too sweet for me. I made it and it came out perfect! Next time, I’ll put less sugar.

  16. I made this as a loaf – thank you Sally for sharing your recipe testing and notes – it was helpful to me to understand what to do and what to watch out for. I added a chocolate swirl to my cake – so delicious and lovely texture! Take care Sally and happy weekend!

  17. Does cake flour need to be sifted?

    1. Hi Jodi, I don’t sift the cake flour here – just spoon and level or weigh. I actually talked all about how to know if you need to sift flour and when to sift it in today’s post: How to Properly Measure Baking Ingredients 🙂

  18. Kevin Sprague says:

    I made this pound cake last night. Me and my wife ate a slice this morning and it was great! I have been making blueberry pound cake with all purpose flour and it’s been heavy. I’m going to try your recipe and add blueberries. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  19. Love how this cake turned out! I used AP flour and adding in corn starch. I also added a teaspoon and a half of almond extract. Can’t wait to make it again! Thank you for the recipe!

  20. Theresa Canfield says:

    Hi Sally my loaf pans are 8×4 is that ok too? I want to bake them together at 325 for an hour is that correct?

    1. You can try to squeeze the batter into 2 8×4 inch loaf pans. The bake time will be longer than indicated for the 9×5 inch loaves. Bake at 325°F (163°C), yes.

  21. Kevin Sprague says:

    I made this again but I added a pint of fresh blueberries. I coated them with cake flour and folded them into the batter. It came out great and tastes awesome!!

  22. Hi Sally, I would love to make this, but as of now I have 1 lacking ingredient, is it okay to leave sour cream? As of this moment there is difficulty to purchase this ingredient.

    1. Hi Marissa, You can try plain yogurt in place of sour cream.

  23. Hi Sally,

    Thank you for all the guidance and helpful tips! My first ever try of a perfect cream cheese pound cake was an absolute success!

  24. Came out really good! I was worried about the curdling so I was glad to see the comment that mentioned this. It should be in the notes as well.

  25. This recipe was amazing! I thought it would be too sweet with so much sugar but it came out tops! The texture was perfect, as was the flavour and all the baking tips in the recipe! I also made a lot of the ingredients like cake flour as per your recommendation which were very helpful and simple to implement. Thank you Sally for a fantastic recipe to a classic cake!

  26. Bridget Gurin says:

    Best cake. The closest thing to cake that my dad usually likes at all is cheesecake and he said that he hasn’t had anything better than this since before I was born. Not a single member of my 6 person family, even the ones that don’t like to show affection, didn’t come up to me to personally tell me that it was delicious. This cake is probably the main thing keeping my family from losing their minds during quarantine. Thank you. In conclusion, best cake.

    1. I absolutely loved reading your review, Bridget! Thank you so much for your positive feedback- I’m thrilled this recipe was such a hit with your family 🙂

  27. Shagufta Nasim says:

    Hi Sally,
    I must say that this recipe brought a smile back to my husband’s face. Since we bought a gas stove, I was never able to bake my husband’s favourite cake in my gas oven. It always came out raw on the inside and overcooked on the outside, no matter what temperature adjustments I made. But, your recipe came out PERFECTLY. I topped it off with your strawberry and whipped cream recipes. I made it for his belated birthday and since my birthday is on Sunday, it’ll be my birthday cake too. Thanks so much.

  28. Andrea Lassiter says:

    This cake is fabulous! I won’t lie, I messed up and the cake is still phenomenal.. my family LOVES it. I followed every instruction to the letter and then screwed up the bake time. My husband has already asked me to save this recipe and that is the most critical man on the planet. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your notes are invaluable! Next time, I vow to get it perfect. If it’s this good with my technical failure, I can’t wait to taste it when I bake it for the correct time.

  29. Tammy Harrington says:

    Hi. I’m about to try this. My question is about greasing the pan. Should I also use flour on top of the butter?

    1. Hi Tammy, I usually use nonstick spray (generously) and do not flour it as well. If using butter, you can certainly flour it as well but I usually don’t.

      1. This was the best pound cake i ever baked. Just a recommendation: i didn’t have sour cream so i used a serving pkg of vanilla yogurt in my first cake. The texture was quite tender. I used sour cream the second time. It was great also.

  30. This is by far the best pound cake I’ve made. The recipe is so well written and easy to follow. I used it with strawberries and whipped topping and some ate it plain. A big hit either way. Thanks

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