This cream cheese pound cake is everything you can imagine: delicious with a dense, tight, moist crumb and a puckery lemon glaze that’s the perfect foil to all that richness.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living | Martha Stewart’s Newlywed Kitchen | Clarkson Potter, 2017
Cream cheese pound cake. Have there ever been four more wonderful words? The cream cheese brings a certain loveliness to the crumb that’s moist rather than grab-a-glass-of-milk-so-I-don’t-choke dry. As if that’s not enough, the cake is drizzled with a glaze that’s perfectly balanced between sweet and tart with the slightest, tantalizingly seductive lilt of lemon. And if you’re into food porn, be certain to watch the video below. (Trust us. You don’t want to miss the video!) What makes this recipe even better is that it makes not just one but two cakes, both of which will keep beautifully, so if you decide to keep both rather than gift one or both, you can selfishly linger over them all week long.–Angie Zoobkoff
WHO CAN RESIST POUND CAKE? ANYONE? WE THOUGHT NOT.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
- Two 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pans
For the cream cheese pound cake
- Vegetable oil cooking spray or butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 ounces full fat cream cheese room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the tart lemon glaze (optional, but don't pass it up)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Make the pound cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Generously coat two 9-by-5-inch metal or ceramic loaf pans with cooking spray or butter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer on high speed or in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer on high, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 4 to 8 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
- Turn the mixer to low speed and then add the flour mixture in 2 batches, beating until just combined after each addition, about 1 minute.
- Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans. Tap the pans on the counter and smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Bake until golden and a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs attached, 65 to 80 minutes. If the tops of the cakes seem to be browning too quickly, tent them with foil. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then carefully turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. (The pound cakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks. Thaw the wrapped cakes at room temperature before unwrapping and slicing.)
Make the glaze
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
- Set a rack over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour the lemon glaze, if using, over the pound cakes, letting it drip down the sides. Let rest until the glaze sets, 30 to 60 minutes. Slice. Devour. Repeat.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Buttery, moist, and, dare I say, decadent? More than just the usual descriptors for pound cake. This cream cheese pound cake checks off all of those boxes. It has an addictive, rich flavor almost akin to shortbread. I have taste-tested this recipe on friends, and they are already clamoring for my recipe. This will be my new go to pound cake recipe!
The amount of salt, which initially seemed like a lot, is perfect. I used fine sea salt and there was no saltiness whatsoever. It gives the cake a depth of flavor so that it just does not just read as “sweet.” It’s perfect by itself or can take on versatility with a variety of toppings. With two loaves at my disposal, I experimented once with serving topped with a lemon and blueberry compote. A dollop of whipped cream finished it off. I also made pound cake croutons. Yes—I made a good thing even better. I cut the cake into cubes and browned it in a pan with a little butter. I served this atop ice cream and finished it off with a chocolate drizzle.
The cake was a little persnickety to make—at least for me. Hopefully someone will be able to learn from my initial challenges. The first time I made this, the top began to brown too quickly. I needed to tent it after it had been in the oven only 30 minutes. This resulted in a cake whose top was beautifully golden and interior moist. The sides and top were overly brown bordering on burnt. I headed to the internet to do a little research on what could have possibly caused this.
After reading several posts, I found out that the loaf pans that I had chose, glass, often can cause overbrowning in those areas. It was suggested that I either reduce the oven temp by 25°F and cook the cakes longer or use a shiny metal pan. I chose to try the recipe again with metal pans. When I went to pop them in the oven, I realized something that I hadn’t noticed before. My oven rack was in the lower position. I had failed to move it after making a turkey. Before putting my pans in, I repositioned the rack to the middle position. Voila—perfectly golden tops and sides. I still needed to tent the cake, but I didn’t need to adjust the baking time.
The cake had a tight crumb with a sweet crunchy top and sides. I didn’t make the lemon glaze as the cake had just the right amount of sweetness.
This cream cheese pound cake was quick to put together. Using room temperature ingredients, it took about 15 minutes from mixing to oven ready. The ingredient measurements were spot on. The cake baked for 75 minutes in a convection oven, producing a nicely crisped top without the use of a foil tent. The result was perfect! One loaf of this cake would serve 6 with 2 slices each. It complements a good cup of English tea. I used an Emile Henry loaf pan and Bakers Joy and the cake popped out of the pan after cooling for 10 minutes with no sticking!
With the addition of cream cheese, this may not be a purist’s pound cake, but it makes a great-tasting dessert. Both the flavor (rich and buttery) and the texture (smooth and tightly fine-crumbed) seem to improve over time, becoming more deeply flavored and evenly moist the following day.
The recipe is as straightforward as any traditional pound cake. In addition to having room-temperature butter and cream cheese (I left them overnight on the kitchen counter), I suggest you use room-temperature eggs (an hour out of the fridge).
I don’t have a standing mixer, so I used an electric hand-held beater to whip the egg, cream cheese, and sugar mixture. It took a full 8 minutes until it became pale—almost off-white—and fluffy.
I made half the lemon glaze (1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice) for 1 loaf to serve that day and froze the other loaf unglazed. Next time I make this cake, I’d like to try a little almond extract in addition to vanilla, and make the glaze with orange juice.
A lovely, simple cream cheese pound cake. The lemon glaze really makes it special. Very tasty. I made a half batch so I only made one pound cake. I did end up having to tent the cake as it was browning really quickly.
I think this is a great basic cream cheese pound cake recipe. The texture was nice and dense with a tight but tender crumb.
My cake had a crispy, crackly crust. I did some research and, apparently, this is actually a characteristic that some people love and aim for! I’m not sure if it was how much air I beat into the butter, cream cheese, and eggs, but I would love to conduct further experiments on this. Time to bust out those baking textbooks! I would advise using parchment and going with a lighter colored loaf pan. I sprayed my pans really well, but had some difficulty removing them and the outside got quite dark because I used darker pans.
This pound cake makes a lovely dessert with the addition of some sugared berries and unsweetened whipped cream.
I’ve never made pound cake before so I was drawn to this recipe given its simplicity and short ingredient list. Also, I think it was interesting that cream cheese was included, which I believe really helped with the overall texture of the cake. The cake came out moist, not too dense, and not overly sweet.
I didn’t think the flavor or consistency of the cream cheese pound cake changed over several days. The consistency of the cake was quite dense but moist and it had a creamy taste. My lemon drizzle topping seemed runnier than in the picture, but perhaps the picture was taken after the drizzle had set more than mine had.
The cream cheese pound cake turned out fluffy and delicious. I will certainly use this recipe again the next time that I want to make a perfect pound cake.
I didn’t put the lemon glaze on top. We ate it with strawberries and whipped cream, and it made a delicious base for strawberry shortcake. As stated in the recipe, the this made two 9-by-5-inch loaves with no overage during cooking. I baked the loaves until they were golden brown on top and the cake tester came out with a few crumbs when stuck in the middle of each loaf. I baked the cakes for 65 minutes. I had no problem with them getting too brown or excess batter overflowing the loaf pans. I let the loaves cool completely about 1 1/2 hours, and I had no problem getting the loaves out of the pan.
Originally published January 18, 2018
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This cake deserves the title of Perfect Pound Cake. It’s simple to make, and the cream cheese seems to give it exactly the right tang and texture. Despite the typical and expected pound cake density on your fork, there is a surprising lightness in the tasting which is hard to describe other than by saying a glass of milk wasn’t required to wash it down as so often is the case with pound cake!
Don’t skip the lemon glaze, it really turns this dessert into something special and there is enough glaze to be quite generous for both loaves. I thought the glaze was the perfect touch. Adding lemon zest to the batter might be really nice!
And the recipe requires only ingredients you’re likely to have on hand.
Although both loaf pans I used were 9-by-5-inches, one was a bit deeper than the other. I preferred the resulting shape of the smaller, shallower pan, but both loaves were delicious, lovely, were easily removed from their pans without leaving any cake behind, and sliced up beautifully into about 12 slices per loaf. On the third day, this pound cake was still delicious and moist after being left wrapped in plastic at room temperature.