So I was watching TV the other day and saw an episode of ‘Martha Bakes’, well not really an episode. I saw about thirty seconds where she was putting the ingredients for cream cheese pound cake into her mixer, and I said “I’m going to make that.” And so I did.
Pound cakes were so-named because of the ingredients: 1 lb butter + 1 lb sugar + 1 lb flour. (Or so I’ve heard, don’t ask me where, since I have no idea- probably an episode of Alton Brown or something. Sounds like the kind of useless information he would give.) I cut Martha’s recipe in half, since I have absolutely no need to have 2 pound cakes lying around the house. I know my limits of self-control, and they’re very low. Given that the recipe is so simple to begin with, halving the recipe caused no problems whatsoever.
I also lightened this pound cake ever so slightly by using reduced fat cream cheese. I was shocked by just how light and airy the cake was despite how heavy and dense it felt in the pan.
It came out perfectly moist, sweet, and slightly tangy and paired perfectly with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream. For my whipped cream I used one of my favorite pantry items: vanilla bean paste. Vanilla bean paste can be substituted 1:1 for vanilla extract, so feel free to use vanilla extract for your whipped cream. Vanilla bean paste is sweeter than vanilla extract, so you may want to add a little more sugar to your whipped cream. Most importantly, vanilla bean paste has the pretty little flecks of vanilla bean that I think makes stuff look more fancy ^_^ So I use it any time it will make an aesthetic difference (like in whipped cream or ice cream).
The only issue I had with this recipe was over-browning (As I’m sure you can see). While the cake inside was perfectly cooked, the high sugar content caused the outside to get more brown and crisp than I’d have liked. This can be fixed by merely lowering the oven temperature about 25 degrees from 350F to 325F. If you want a crispier crust, feel free to bake at the suggested 350F. Oh, and don’t worry about the crack, that’s natural for pound cake. I’m pretty sure it’d have been less severe had I remembered to bang my pan on the counter to release air bubbles, but it really doesn’t hurt anything.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake – Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 1 loaf
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ package (4 oz) less-fat cream cheese
- 1 ½ c sugar (if you really wanted to, I’m sure you could get away with just 1 c, but why would you want to?)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ c AP flour
- 1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325F (original recipe calls for 350F). In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt together and set aside.
With a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Should look something like this:
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then add vanilla. Should become a smooth, wet batter like:
Add flour mixture in two additions, beating until just combined. It will look like a runnier cookie dough, almost. Be careful not to over-mix!
Grease a loaf pan, and pour batter into pan & smooth top with spatula. Rap pan on the counter to work out some of the air bubbles.
Bake until nice and golden brown, and it passes the toothpick test. (60 – 75 minutes). Cool 5 – 10 minutes in pan on wire rack, then turn out onto rack to finish cooling out of the pan.
For the Strawberries
- 1 1-lb container strawberries, washed and sliced
- 2 Tbs sugar
Toss sliced strawberries and sugar, set aside at least 30 min or refrigerate for a couple hours. The longer they sit, the more juice you’ll have.
- 1 c heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 Tbs powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
Whip cream to soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla, and continue beating to stiff peaks. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
*If you don’t have a stand mixer, an electric hand mixer will do. It will just take a bit more time than using a stand mixer.
*If the cake starts to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil
*As with all baking, try not to open the oven door often or the heat will escape. I don’t open my oven door until you must use a toothpick to tell if it’s done.
*Taste your strawberries before sugaring them; very ripe strawberries will not need as much sugar as less ripe strawberries.
*Adjust powdered sugar content to taste for your whipped cream, you may prefer your whipped cream sweeter or less sweet than I like mine.
*When making whipped cream, start with cold beaters and cold cream to achieve proper whipped texture faster.