Monday, February 15, 2010

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

From: Smitten Kitchen

I made a half-batch of this in a regular-size loaf pan. I served this with fresh cut fruit and chocolate fondue. It was delicious - moist and dense. I liked the touch of almond extract and could see mixing up the flavor by using lemon or orange instead. I put the original full-size recipe below, but it halves easily.

Serves (at least) 10

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) Philadelphia brand cream cheese*, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract plus 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all purpose 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 12-cup bundt pan, and simply butter and flour it.

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, almond, then the flour and salt all at once. Beat just until incorporated.

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.

4. Place the pan on a cake rack and cool for 20 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

* Philadelphia cream cheese is often recommended for baking for consistency purposes, as in, bakers know this brand works, and because it contains less water than other brands.

Variations: Add some chopped chocolate, orange zest, lemon zest, grapefruit zest whole raspberries, different extracts, etc.

Smaller cakes: Divide full recipe into two loaf pans, or half the recipe and make one loaf pan.

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