For me, this pound cake hits all the right notes. Thanks to pure vanilla extract, tart cream cheese (hello, moist and delicious texture!) and a dose of salt, it’s delicious enough to stand alone but versatile enough to serve, no matter the occasion. Much like a little black dress, this cake can take you anywhere and to any function. It can be a casual picnic snack or a delicious breakfast toasted and smeared with jam. It can also be the star of your summer berry pudding or your winter holiday dessert trifle.
Please be sure to read Baking Together #5: Making a Moist Cream Cheese Pound Cake and all the tips I’ve included below before starting on the recipe.
This recipe is the fifth in our series on Cook the Vineyard called Baking Together. Check out our first four recipes: One Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting; Pumpkin Cream Cheese Tart with Crushed Pretzel Crust, Butter Pecan Slice-and-Bake Cookies, Lemon Rosemary Parmesan Scones.
Once you’ve made the pound cake, be sure and leave us a note in the comments about how you served the cake or variations you tried. What did you, your family, and friends think of the recipe? Tell us if you did anything differently. Did you add finely chopped nuts (approximately ¾ cup/3 ounces would do — and please toast them first!) or chopped bittersweet chocolate (about 2/3 cup/4 ounces would be good)? Or, maybe you added grated lemon or orange zest (2 to 3 teaspoons or more). If a toasted almond loaf sounds delicious, add ½ teaspoon pure almond extract along with the vanilla and stir in ¾ cup sliced toasted almonds. Feeling festive? Gently fold a few rainbow sprinkles (about ¼ to 1/3 cup – a little goes a long way) into the batter just before scraping into the prepared pan. Or, if you’re looking for a crunchy topper, sprinkle some coarse sugar over the top. Make sure to do this after you’ve tapped the batter down so your sugar stays put.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Makes 10 servings
- 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) cake flour, sifted
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 yolks from large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8½ x 4½ x 2 ¾ -inch pan (I use Pyrex). Line the bottom with parchment, then lightly grease and flour the parchment and the sides of the pan.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk until well blended. Put the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters). Beat on medium-high speed until very smooth and lightened, about 2 minutes. Add the sugars and continue beating until fluffy and lighter in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract with the final egg yolk. Add the flour mixture and, using a spatula, gently fold until just blended.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly, and tap the pan gently but firmly on the counter several times to settle the batter. Using the tip of a wide flat side of a table knife (or small metal spatula), drag the tip down the center of the batter leaving about a 1/2-inch deep strip. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 75 to 80 minutes.
4. Move the pan to a rack and let cool for about 20 minutes. Run a knife between the cake and the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto a rack, lift off the pan and gently peel away the parchment. Tip the cake onto one side and let cool completely.
Tips for Pound Cake-Baking Success
- For proper blending and the best texture, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.
- For a deep richness and a yellow-y cake, I like to use two whole eggs plus two yolks. That said, you can replace the two yokes with one egg for a total of three whole eggs if it’s easier for you.
- Don’t skimp on the salt! The amount (3/4 teaspoon table salt) might seem like a lot but it’s imperative – especially in the vanilla variation – to achieve the fullest flavor.
- You’ll notice I add a little light brown sugar along with the granulated sugar to the batter. I love how it adds a hint of butterscotch-y / brown butter nuance that elevates and accentuates the loaf’s butter-y goodness.
- You can vary the pound cake with a variety of add-ins (see the recipe) like the chopped chocolate in the batter above.
- Gently fold the flour into the batter until it is just blended. Over mixing can make the texture of the baked loaf a bit tough. It can also lead to pesky air pockets. Neither are end-of-the-world issues but it’s best to avoid them if you can.
- And speaking of air pockets, I recommend rapping the batter-filled loaf pan on the counter several (four to six ) times to settle the batter and release any air bubbles that might be lingering below the surface. Because I like using my Pyrex loaf pan for this recipe and I don’t want it to break, I spread a folded dishtowel on the counter to use as a soft-landing spot for the pan.
- What about that gorgeous split-top look? Once I’ve tapped down the batter, I use the blunt side of the tip of a small metal spatula (the tip of a wide, flat side of a table knife works too) and drag the tip down the center of the batter leaving about a 1/2-inch deep strip/indentation.
Make-ahead and serving notes
- The cake can be served slightly warm or at room temperature on the same day it is baked. If you can resist, wait a day or two as the vanilla flavor develops and deepens as it sits. Either way, stow it tightly covered and at room temperature.
- Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into slices. The cake is delicious served as is, but a schmear of jam or a scoop of chopped berries are mighty tasty companions.
- Leftovers are delicious grilled or toasted until golden brown around the edges and smeared with preserves.
Source: Thanks https://mvmagazine.com/news/2020/03/02/cream-cheese-pound-cake