Cream Cheese Pound Cake

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.

A partially sliced loaf of cream cheese pound cake with lemon glaze.

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.

A partially sliced loaf of cream cheese pound cake with lemon glaze.

A partially sliced loaf of cream cheese pound cake with lemon glaze.

Video

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

A partially sliced loaf of cream cheese pound cake with lemon glaze.
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.
Martha Stewart Living

Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Total 3 hrs 40 mins
Dessert
American
20 servings
414 kcal
4.86 / 7 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Martha Stewart’s Newlywed Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Equipment

  • Two 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pans

Ingredients 

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

Directions
 

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.
Print RecipeBuy the Martha Stewart’s Newlywed Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 414kcal (21%)Carbohydrates: 57g (19%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 19g (29%)Saturated Fat: 11g (69%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 105mg (35%)Sodium: 293mg (13%)Potassium: 65mg (2%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 42g (47%)Vitamin A: 657IU (13%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 27mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

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.

A vanilla pound cake with a lemon glaze cut into 8 slices

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.


Originally published January 18, 2018

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Comments

    1. Lori, we haven’t tried making it in a bundt pan, so we can’t guarantee it will turn out the same, however, we have had readers who have successfully been able to do so. If you do it, please let us know how it turns out.

  1. 5 stars
    Well, I don’t know what I’ve been eating the last 50 years, but that “other stuff” labeled Pound Cake can pound sand! THIS. Oh my. It’s absolutely decadent. Sublime. Scrumptious. Can you marry a cake? Asking for a friend.

    1. Kristen, thank you for this! Your comment MADE my day. I love it! And I’m delighted that you love this cake as much as we do. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful pound cake. I have been using this recipe for over 40 years. It is easily adaptable. Not sure where it originates.

    1. Nancy B, four decades says something! Love that you have such experience with this pound cake. And we completely understand why you’d be so true to it. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know…

  3. 5 stars
    I finally got round to making this after recovering from a hugely annoying cold – my body demanded CAKE after all it had been through, and I had to comply. I have baked MANY cakes in my life, but never a classic pound cake recipe with no chemical raising agent. So I was a little apprehensive (get that monkey off your back, Ling), but lo and behold – when I sliced into it and took a bite, all my burdens rolled away and I leapt up and down in the office pantry (I brought it to work) shouting “Hallelujah”. So I am a full pound cake convert now, but only in the cream cheese denomination… 🙂 Such an even-crumbed, dense, sliceable texture; moist and toothsome; unabashedly buttery and with a tang from the cheese. This is a cake with heft and grace. Colleagues wiped out and are demanding a repeat performance!

      1. Forgot to mention – I made the entire recipe in a bundt pan! Rose very evenly, and came out perfectly golden; I didn’t have to tent it while baking!

  4. 5 stars
    I had to try this cake. Something about the idea of adding cream cheese for the underlying richness and a bit of tang captured my imagination. Of course, I had to tweak a few ingredients 🙂 I substituted Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour and used a bit of Stella Park’s toasted sugar to compensate for the general blandness of GF baking. Then I realized I was out of vanilla and subbed in almond extract. Oh, my goodness! Heavenly, especially with the lemon glaze. Certainly a keeper.

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