Vanilla Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Deliciousness in simplicity is embodied by a good pound cake. The old-fashioned recipe contains just a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs and a pound of flour. There’s logic, if lack of imagination, behind the “pound” cake’s name.  Although the (dusty, cobwebbed) math part of my brain tells me it would be more aptly named “FOUR pound cake”… Geez, that’s a lot of cake!

People (myself included) have taken liberties with the ingredient ratios, often adding a leavener other than eggs to boost the cake’s rise. The rich, buttery taste, golden hue and dense crumb must be present, however, or you’ve explored beyond pound cake into “loaf” territory.

My version includes cream cheese. This is because on the day I made it, I ran out of butter.

Yes, it happens. And it’s a sad day when it does.

But it turned out to be one of those brilliant accidents! The cream cheese lightened the cake up a bit, while adding another layer of rich flavour with subtle tangy nuance. This will be my go-to recipe from now on! It’d be delicious with a tablespoon or two of very finely grated citrus zest stirred in, then drizzled with a glaze made with a couple tablespoons of the same citrus juice whisked with confectioners’ sugar.  I served mine with lemon curd (using this recipe) and fresh berries.

Butter is the star of the show here, which brings me to the salted vs. unsalted debate. Most serious bakers would tell you to always use unsalted – so you can control the amount of salt that goes into the recipe, and they argue that salt being a preservative, it lasts longer and won’t be as fresh.

I have only ever purchased unsalted butter once in my life, and it was by accident. I feel like I just made a major confession there. Phew.

I bake almost daily for my job. I have never once had a cookie, muffin or cake cross my lips that tasted too salty, and I would certainly never let butter hang out in my fridge long enough to not be fresh.

One of my favourite baking cookbooks, The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book, explicitly uses only salted butter in their recipes, because it is more commonly available (at least in Canada!).

I love salted butter on toast. And it’s great in my savoury cooking, which I taste along the way to season properly anyway. I just don’t see what the big darn deal is about unsalted butter.

What are your thoughts? Are you firmly planted on one side or another of the butter debate?

Vanilla Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour (9 ounces)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5" loaf pan.
  2. In a standing mixer, beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Beat in vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture into the butter mixture with the mixer speed on low; beat until just combined.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan, smooth out the top, and bake 1¼ hours, or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.


  • Katie

    A) This looks like it has an amazing texture.  Cream cheese FTW!  B) I am 100% with you on the salted butter thing, and had to comment because it really frustrates me when people are so adamant about using only unsalted butter in recipes – salted butter is so much more flavorful!

    • foodess

      Thank you, Katie :-)  

  • Aubrey

    I use unsalted butter for baking, but keep salted butter around for savoury dishes…but in a pinch will swap one for the other for what I have on hand. If I use salted butter, I cut back a teensy bit on the amount of salt in the recipe…but in hindsight, I used salted butter for years before someone told me otherwise, and there were no salty cookies in my house!

    • foodess

      I know, right??

  • Unhip Squirrel

    I LOVE salted butter when I’m eating it on toast or something. In baking, I only ever use unsalted butter – unless I can’t find any at the store. It feels purer in the sense that I can add exactly as much salt as I like. I generally opt for less salt in my recipes (though not always) given Adam’s hypertension, but honestly my tastebuds have adapted to having less salt in my food. If I have to use salted butter in baking, I just adjust the added salt accordingly.

    Salt is important for balancing flavours, I don’t think it matters whether you buy salted or unsalted butter as long as you are taking the fact that it’s salted into account. I once forgot to reduce the salt in a pie crust I made with salted butter and WOAH my crust was salty!!!

  • ATasteOfMadness

    Oh my goodness. I have no words. This looks like the perfect cake. I have never made a pound cake, but I definitely want to now!!

    • foodess

      haha thank you!  

  • Jane

    Finding fresh unsalted butter is always difficult for me so I am glad that I can now just use the unsalted butter that is always around.  WIll try this recipe.

  • Allison

    I’ve never tried pound cake made with cream cheese before. I’m definitely going to try it!

  • smithbenny

     cheese cake, thank you for sharing, I really like you post, here I can find many useful things, thanks again!

  • Janedoe67

    The amount of salt can vary depending on who manufactured the butter.  I’ve read there can be as much as 3/4 tsp in a stick or half of that.  I’m on the fence about the whole thing, but in a recipe calling for two sticks of butter, an additional 1.5 tsp (potentially) could be added by using salted butter. 

  • Sunk in NL

    I made this cake twice this week and it is incredibly tasty.  My only problem is that both times it sunk in the middle – it was about half the height in the middle as it was on the sides.  I used a pretty good quality loaf pan (Paderno) and reduced the baking time by 15 minutes when I made it the second time because it was overcooked the first time.  Any idea why the middle is not rising like the sides are?  (I am willing to try almost anything because the cake is that good.)

    • Kathy Hatter


  • Jennifer Marko

    Making this right now. I had everything but the loaf pan. Borrowed one from my neighbor. I’m not really a baker so I hope the pan size is right. I measured it 2 ways, the top edge is 9 by 5 but under neath of that is 8 1/2 by 4 1/4. I guess it’s close enough. Wish this very inexperienced girl luck :)

  • Jennifer Marko

    I’m crying! The middle collapsed after I put the toothpick in to check if it was done…

    • foodess

      Put it back in the oven, Jenn! That means it wasn’t done yet… :-( I’m sorry to hear that happened….

  • ashley

    Ummmmm! This looks so good and similar to the pound cake that I’ve eaten which was fantastic, but it was a bunt so my question is can this be made as a bundt instead of a loaf just to get more servings??????

    • foodess

      Not without really tinkering the recipe! There wouldn’t be enough batter…

  • Mia

    Thanks for the delicious recipe. Finally a pound cake with 2 eggs! Was searching for a cream cheese pound cake but not with 6 eggs as all the other recipes suggested. This was so decadent and moist. I made it to serve with afernoon tea for some guests and got so many compliments. Will definitely add to my regular recipes. The cream cheese makes it so moist and melt in your mouth. I baked mine in a round cake pan and it was ready in 1hr10 mins. I drizzled lemon icing on it to make it look fancier but it really doesnt need anything. I prefered it plain straight out of the oven. So yummy!

    • Kathy Hatter


  • neena

    Generally I couldn’t care less about salted, unsalted, whatever. However we did once make dark chocolate lava cakes with salted butter and they were way, way too salty (even though we didn’t add salt). The saltiness totally overwhelmed the wonderful flavor of the really good chocolate we’ve used. So in recipes like that where there’s not many flavors and very little salt, I’m careful. In a batch of chocolate chip cookies, I couldn’t care less and I don’t think I could tell the difference.


    What can I add to keep the cake from being so dry? HELP!!