Start to finish: 2 hours Servings: 10 to 12 Difficulty Level: Beginner to intermediate
Pound cake gets its name from the traditional ingredients -- a pound of flour, pound of sugar, pound of butter and pound of eggs -- though recipes now vary greatly from this basic formula. A simple substitution of cream cheese for part of the butter makes the pound cake extra rich and moist. Neufchatel cheese makes a suitable alternative to cream cheese if you want to cut some of the fat.
- 1-1/4 cup butter
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Adjust the oven rack to the center position. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Set the eggs, butter and cream cheese out for about 1 hour to reach room temperature before mixing the batter. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
Mix the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixture until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Add the granulated sugar and vanilla extract. Cream these ingredients with the butter-and-cream cheese mixture until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is fluffy.
Mix the eggs into the sugar mixture, adding them one at a time while mixing constantly.
Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl 1 cup at a time. Mix well before adding the next cup of flour mixture. All dry ingredients should be thoroughly incorporated into the wet mixture, but do not over-mix the ingredients.
Pour the pound cake batter into a greased baking pan. Use a single bundt cake pan or two loaf pans for the pound cake.
Bake the cream cheese pound cake for approximately 1 hour. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean or with just a few crumbs.
Remove the pound cake from the oven and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
Exact baking time varies, depending on your oven and the type of pan. Cakes tend to finish faster in bundt pans than in loaf pans or sheet cake pans. If the toothpick doesn't come out clean, bake for as long as 70 minutes, checking for doneness once every few minutes, until the toothpick comes out clean.
Serve the cream cheese pound cake plain with a side of fruit; try it topped with a drizzle of fruit syrup and fresh fruit, or use it to dip in chocolate fondue. For a toasty flavor, grill pound cake slices for 1 to 2 minutes per side on a gas or charcoal grill. In colder weather, brush lightly with butter and toast in a skillet, grill pan or griddle.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.