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.
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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; 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

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467 Comments

  1. What are your suggestions to go about making this into jumbo muffins? I am thinking this might work well with (your) lemon curd as a filling.

    Cheers

    1. Hi Meredith, You could use your jumbo muffin pan to make mini pound cakes. I’m unsure of the bake time needed.

  2. This cream cheese pound cake is wonderfully flavored dense , and smooth cake ! Enjoying in Kansas

  3. I just took this pound cake out of the pan and cut a slice to see how it tasted before bringing it over to my mom’s birthday tomorrow. WOW! I honestly don’t remember the last time I have baked something this good and I bake a lot. I practically inhaled the slice I cut and it will likely not be the last piece I have tonight. I used yogurt instead of sour cream since it’s what I already had. I also added a tsp of almond extract in addition to the two tsps of vanilla. This was relatively easy and SO worth it.

  4. This pound cake was incredible. I halved the recipe and made it in one 9×5 loaf pan. I accidentally misread the directions and had the oven at 350 for the first 15 minutes of baking, but quickly changed it to 325 when I realized it. And it still turned out perfectly fine! Honestly, the only pound cake I really remember is the frozen Sara Lee ones my parents loved. And this one is 10x better. The crumb is fantastic, it’s tight and small. It’s light but at the same time tense. My husband loved it and ate it plain. I loved it with some strawberry jam. I cut up the rest of it and wrapped each individually to freeze for later!

  5. Scrumptious. Great pound cake recipe. 325 for 90 mins and a perfect, beautiful pound cake. Thank you.

  6. I live at 7800 ft. elevation. What would be the necessary high altitude changes for your recipe?

    1. Hi Barbara, I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

      1. Barbara LeBlanc says:

        I have actually been to that site for a different recipe and will see if I can get the adjustments right. Appreciate the help.

  7. kailyn smith says:

    I would like to make two loafs of pound cake what would be the baking time?

    1. In the notes it says 60 minutes.

  8. Great recipe can’t wait to make the cake, will be printing and posting recipes to my desert board, and will
    Be eagerly waiting for more of your recipe.

  9. It worked! Just as you said! This is only my 2nd attempt at a cake. My first cake was missing something and wasn’t nearly as moist as it should’ve been but this one was as perfect as it could be! Thank you!

  10. I’m having a problem with it not wanting to cook in the ring around the middle. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Bets! Do you mean like the photo of my cake disaster above– the very center not baking? I recommend simply keeping the pound cake in the oven for longer. Once I started baking the cake for much longer, it finally began cooking all the way through. Tent the baking cake with aluminum foil if you notice the top and sides browning too quickly.

  11. Laura Christensen says:

    I followed the recipe exactly. I ended up using your homemade cake flour. The cakes were made in two loaf pans and looked beautiful when they came out of the oven. However, about ten minutes or so into cooling, they fell. What could have happened? I’m wondering if since I made my own cake flour with cornstarch and regular flour if that was the problem. Please advice. The cake tastes okay but I can see a “layer” within the pieces that looks condensed. Thank you for your thoughts.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laura, thanks so much for giving this recipe a try! If the cakes sunk they’re likely undercooked and the middle is still too raw. If you try it again 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.

    2. I learned from my grandmother and my mother that if you walk around the kitchen too much or too hard while the cake is in the oven, it can fall. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s TRUE. Don’t let anyone walk in the kitchen while the cake is baking.

  12. Heavy cream can be used instead of sour cream. And I use salted butter and don’t add salt. I have been making this cake for nearly forty-five years or more. One of my great Aunt’s gave me the recipe by showing me how to do it. I’d never seen it printed until today. She told me it was very expensive to make long time ago because cream cheese was very pricey. I’m 67 so it’s been many years.

  13. Cake was great! 1st time using this recipe—although I didn’t have all of the ingredients, alternates worked just fine. Yogurt in the place of sour cream, mixed 2/3 cake flour with 1/3 self-rising flour, almond & lemon extract AND added walnuts..delish!

  14. Brooks Amick says:

    Wow! This recipe is so easy and the cake always comes out great and better each time. I’ll make other ones and will always think about this one. I just put one in the oven and tried it with chocolate chips this time… fingers crossed.

  15. This was my very first time baking a pound cake and it came out perfect!!! I followed the recipe exactly and my cake came out moist and delicious! I will be using this recipe again and I can’t wait to try out some of your other recipes!

  16. Cool for two hours in the pan? That’s a long time. I learned to never leave a cake in the pan for longer than 10-15 minutes because it will stick and not release easily. So, no sticking to the pan after two hours? I’m baking this cake today. Inquiring minds need to know. Thanks.

    1. Correct. This cake tends to stick, so I recommend around 2 hours. Feel free to make adjustments as you see fit!

  17. Hi Sally! I’m truly love your recipes and explanations for everything. It’s like you’re reading my mind. I had the pleasure of making this pound cake for my brother. It turned out delicious. My question is how can I keep the outer crust on the cake and not in the pan when removing it? There were just a few areas where the crust lifted but no big chunks missing. The cake itself actually came out without issue and 95% whole. The cake was not under or over baked. Thank you and I look forward to baking and learning from more of your recipes.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, Sally’s best trick for releasing bundt pans is to REALLY coat them with nonstick spray. We also let the cake completely cool in the pan before inverting. I hope this helps!

  18. This cake was heaven!!! I’m new at baking and your recipe really helped me. I can’t believe I can bake 🙂 with your awesome tips and instructions. My family was super surprised. The cake was very soft and moist. We don’t like our cake too sweet and the measurement for sugar was perfect. I made 1 loaf by cutting all the ingredients in half. It was super easy!!!!

    Question: I have a thicker loaf pan, which required the baking time 75 mins. I made it second time and reduced it to 65 mins. Both times, the bottom and sides of the cake really brown up, but its not burnt. I also put it right in the middle rack of my oven and not too close to the heat. How do I decrease the sides and bottom from browning too much? Please help.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tina, We are so happy you enjoyed this recipe! The edges browning is likely just a result of the pan you are using. King Arthur has a good article to explain the difference: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2018/03/29/glass-or-metal-or-stoneware
      If you wish to try again in this pan you can try lowering the oven temperature slightly.

      1. Thank you so much!!! I will check out the website. I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

  19. Chocolette says:

    Hey Sally,
    I’d asked you about the two hour cooling in the pan. I was afraid it would stick. I baked the cake yesterday and it released beautifully. No worries. I didn’t cut it until today, ate a slice with my coffee this morning. It is delicious. Thank you for a scrumptious recipe.

  20. Is is possible to substitute heavy cream for the sour cream?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elaine, I don’t recommend it. Plain yogurt is the best substitute for the sour cream.

  21. Hi Sally, I made this today and this is the most perfect pound cake I ever made. It is so moist even though I didn’t use sour cream, halved it and baked in a loaf pan, used 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. I do wish I could send you the pic! Thank you!!

  22. Hello Sally, I made this cake three times now and it is perfect! I am wondering if I can try some variations by adding in berries or some white chocolate chips. Could you recommend the quantity and if this would even work?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tia, I’m so happy you are enjoying this recipe! Yes, you can definitely add berries or white chocolate chips to this pound cake batter. I recommend 1 and 1/2 cups of total add-ins. Chop the berries and blot them dry if they’re extra wet. Make sure the bundt pan is large enough as add-ins will create extra batter. The bake time may be a little longer too, though I’m unsure of exact bake time. Enjoy!

  23. Absolutely DELICIOUS! Made this for my Mom’s 80th birthday party (make your own strawberry shortcake bar). It was moist and had a wonderful flavor. Sturdy but not heavy. I baked it in two loaf pans for about 50 minutes, and tented the pans with foil halfway through the bake time. Everyone loved it and I got lots of compliments even the next day when my family had the leftovers for breakfast. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!

  24. I honestly don’t understand all the great reviews. I followed the recipe to a tee and used a bundt pan. I have to say I’m disappointed with the result. After 95 minutes in the oven and testing with a toothpick (which came out clear), the center was still raw. I decided to cook it another half hour and for some reason, the darn center won’t cook! I gave up after 2 hrs + of cooking. I wasted so much time and ingredients, I won’t be using this recipe again. My quest for another fail proof recipe continues!

    1. Maddy what is the cup size of your Bundt pan? It maybe too small. 2 hours is definitely too long to bake. Once you add your flour don’t over mix . Did you check your oven temp? It maybe off

  25. Deborah Culpepper says:

    My other Pound cake recipes call for cool oven starting out. I now have an oven with the element only in the top.
    Which causes the cake to get too dark while coming to temp at 325 degrees.
    Would this be ok to start Putin cool oven??

  26. Has anyone tried this recipe for cupcakes? If so , what temperature and timing?

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