You either like pound cakes or you don't. If you like plain butter cakes, then pound cakes are your thing. Hubby on the other hand feels that those type of cakes are way too boring, lacking character. For me, I love the simplicity of the cake, the rich buttery flavour melting in my mouth.
Pound cake refers to a type of cake classically made with a pound of each of the main ingredients, namely flour, butter, eggs and sugar. Man, that's a huge cake!
In an attempt to make the pound cake a tad more interesting for Hubby's palate, I decided to make a Cream Cheese Pound Cake instead of the conventional pound cake. The cream cheese makes the otherwise heavy pound cake into a delightful lighter moist cake with a slight richer edge to the taste. And since the cream cheese is already in the cake, you can consume the cake as is, or serve it with some fruits or ice-cream.
My boss' wife actually introduced me to this variation of the pound cake, when she baked one for my boss' birthday. She kindly gave me a copy of her recipe but unfortunately I didn't get much success with her version so I was so excited when my favourite baking site, Joy of Baking, had a tried and tested recipe for the cake.
Recipe from here. I halved the recipe so below are the adjusted quantities.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake:
195 grams all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
170 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
113 grams package cream cheese, room temperature
275 grams granulated white sugar (I used only about 220grams)
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Zest (outer skin) of one lemon or orange (optional)
3 large eggs, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (I used 165degC) and place oven rack in center of oven. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick spray that contains flour) a bundt pan.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer (with the paddle attachment), or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Continue beating on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat until incorporated.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the flour mixture, in three additions, and mix just until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 30-50 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 - 30 minutes so it has time to set. Remove the cake from the pan to finish cooling. This cake will keep about 3 to 4 days at room temperature and about one week in the refrigerator. Can also be frozen.
Tips and Tricks:
- Since I halved the recipe, I adjusted the baking time to only 30-50 minutes. Original recipe calls for baking for 55-70 minutes. I also adjusted the baking temperature from 180 to 165degC since my loaf pan is black in colour. Dark coloured pans will get hotter faster and transmits heat faster, causing the outside of the cake to cook too quickly. If you find that your cake is rising too quickly and the top is brown but the cake isn't yet done, cover the top with aluminium foil and continue baking.
- The full recipe calls for the use of a 10 inch (25 cm) bundt pan. Since I didn't own a bundt pan, I thought I could fit in half of the recipe in one loaf pan. I was sadly wrong. Half of the recipe filled about one and a half loaf pan. Or maybe I should have filled two loaf pans instead! Next time I will use this website to help me with my pan conversions. Apparently one 10 inch bundt pan is equivalent to two 8inch round cake pans (hence one 8inch round cake pan for half of the recipe).
- Note: if a recipe calls for round tins, but you need to use square ones instead, remember to use square pans that are 1-inch smaller as square tins hold more batter than round ones of the same size. Okay, I digress.
- Why the cracked top? I didn't care much about the crack on top since the cake was purely for own consumption. But I googled why to write this blog post, and apparently pound cakes, because of their higher fat ration, would tend to crack on top and is actually an inherent signature characteristic for pound cakes. Due to the density, the outside of the cake would bake and brown first. As the center begins to heat up and expand, the batter pushes up and out, forming the crack. To reduce the amount of cracking, ensure that your ingredients are carefully measured and ensure they are at room temperature. This will also result in a pound cake with maximum volume.
- Don't skimp on the beating but don't overmix the batter too. Yes, the butter, cream cheese and sugar needs to be beaten for a good 5 minutes (I checked my watch) to ensure that they whip air into the cake batter so it will rise during baking and produce the characteristic fine crumb. However, don't overbeat the eggs. Add one egg at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears. Once the last egg goes into the mixing bowl, the beating is over. Gently add the flour into the batter using the mixer on its lowest setting. As soon as the flour disappears, stop.
|Fresh out of the oven, crack and all.|
|Released from the pan.|
|I simply love the lovely golden brown crisp crust!|
|The characteristic fine crumbs *love*|
|Practiced some self restraint and managed to consume the entire cake in 3 days. Usually it would be all gone in 1 day, but this time I sliced small pieces to satisfy my craving. Oh the calories!|