Monday, October 4, 2010

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I'm not going to even beat around the bush with this one. You NEED to make this recipe. Period. Seriously, scroll down right now to the recipe, take out the ingredients that need to be at room temperature, then come back. I'll wait.

But in all honesty, this is probably the most delicious pound cake I've ever eaten. It has the most heavenly texture and taste, and my days of being jealous at the amazing tight crumbs that all the store-bought pound cakes have are over. And of course, it's a snap to put together and uses ingredients that are always on hand (well, in my case I had to buy cream cheese since I don't like the stuff unless it's used to make some kind of dessert, but I'm assuming the rest of you guys generally keep it on hand, right?) You don't taste the cream cheese, but what it does, along with a large portion of butter and whipping of the batter, is gives the pound cake an amazing light-as-air, velvety, melt-in-your-mouth texture. And the flavor? Perfect of course. The recipe called for both vanilla and almond extracts, but I just wanted to pure vanilla flavor, so that's all I added and I wouldn't have it any other way. To sum it up, the search for the perfect pound cake is complete. I shall stall no longer. Here's the recipe. Take it and make it. You know you want to.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake (adapted from smitten kitchen)
Makes one 10-inch tube cake or two standard loaves

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour (NOT self-rising; if you don't have cake flour on hand, substitute 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch for every 1 cup of cake flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter a 10-inch tube pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Alternately, you can use a two 9x5 or 8x4 inch loaf pans. (I used 9x5 and just buttered, didn't need the parchment paper.)
  2. Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and airy, at least five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the vanilla, then the flour and salt all at once. Beat just until incorporated. (I also sifted my flour three times, just to lighten it and produce an even better crumb.)
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and shake lightly to even out the top. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 1 1/4 hours. (The loaves take less time, only about an hour.)
  4. Place the pan on a cake rack and cool for 20 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

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