Easy Cream Cheese Pound Cake (and bonus Trifle Recipe)

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It was J’s birthday a few weeks ago and I gave him two choices for birthday treat:

I could either make him the ‘perfect chocolate cake’ with his favourite cream cheese chocolate frosting, or his childhood favourite trifle, complete with made from scratch cream cheese pound cake, jello and custard. To my surprise he chose the trifle!

So here it is: the Easiest Perfect Cream Cheese Pound Cake and as a bonus I turned it into trifle!

I took my inspiration for the perfect cream cheese pound cake from Sallys Bake Blog. She has some great tips on making pound cake. I did tweak things a bit from her version. Since I was making this cake for a trifle, I wanted it to be less sweet since it would be mixed with jello and custard which are already pretty sweet. And generally I am not a fan overly sweet desserts. I also wanted to bake this it in a large round cake format rather than a bundt cake so it would be easier to cut for the trifle. (Primarily I chose this shape for easy of cutting, but also because we are a few weeks away from moving and half my kitchen is all packed away! So using what I have on hand!)

Tips for Baking a Perfect Pound Cake

If you have never baked a pound cake before (don’t worry, neither had I!). Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you get baking:

  • Plan ahead – A pound cake is definitely a labour of love. You need everything to be at room temperature before you get started. And I mean everything. Butter, sour cream, cream cheese, eggs. Take it all out and wait patiently for it all to come to room temp before you get started. Baking also takes a looooong time. Pack your patience you will need it when baking this beauty!
  • Room temperature ingredients makes for a much creamier pound cake.
  • Do not over mix! I feel like this is good advice for most cake batters, but especially here since it is a rather dense cake. There is a fine line between the cake being dense and soft and dense and heavy or hard. Once you get the flour in there, be careful not to over mix the batter.
  • Do not undercook the cake. This is a tricky one to judge. Just know that this cake cooks low and slow. If you think it has been in there too long, but the toothpick test is still not coming out clean. Put her in there a bit longer. Trust me! After baking my cake for about an hour and a half, I thought it must be done! I didnt trust the toothpick test. And sure enough, once I cut into it, I could have easily given it another 5 minutes and it would have been even better! So just trust the toothpick test and your baking instincts!
  • Use a foil tent to prevent the top of the cake from getting too brown while baking. At about the 1 hour mark, I added a foil tent to the top of the cake while it baked to help keep the top from getting too brown. Worked like a charm.
  • Use cake flour! Cake flour will get you a much softer, moister cake every time. If you do not have cake flour on hand, you can make your own very easily with just two ingredients…

How to Make Your Own Cake Flour

This recipe calls for cake flour. Which really helps make a softer and more tender cake. So I highly recommend you get yourself some cake flour before you bake this one. But if you are in a pinch, and can’t get some cake flour you can easily make some yourself by mixing all purpose flour with corn starch!

To make your own cake flour, for every 1 cup of cake flour you will need:

  • 1 cup of all purpose flour.
  • Remove 2 tbsp of the all purpose flour, and replace with 2 tbsp corn flour/corn starch.
  • Sift well to remove any lumps and mix everything together. That is it! Homemade cake flour ready to go!

Make as much cake flour as you need for your recipe, just follow the above ratio and you will be good!

Baking the Perfect Pound Cake

The process is quite simple to bake this pound cake. It only takes 9 ingredients, and a little bit of time and patience. But the end result is totally worth it. A slice of this cake with some fresh whipped cream and berries is the perfect summer treat!

Or transform it into trifle like I did for J!

How to Turn Leftover Pound Cake into Trifle

This Easy Cream Cheese Pound Cake does really well in a trifle. Since it is quite a dense cake, it soaks up the custard really well without turning into mush. And the best thing about trifle is that the longer all the ingredients get to marinate together in the fridge, the better the trifle will taste!

There are a few different ways to make trifle. As the name implies, there are three layers to this dish.

Traditional english trifle is made with a layer of pound cake, followed by a custard and then whipped cream. We go a bit outside the box with our trifle, adding jello cubes, fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries etc.) so there are a few more layers than three when we make trifle! πŸ˜‰

Heres a few tips for making trifle:

  • Make (or buy) the individual ingredients for the trifle ahead of time. I chose to make my own pound cake, but this can very easily be made with store bought pound cake or angel cake. The Jello and the Custard I just follow the package directions for making them and refrigerate the night before.
  • For the cake, if you want to be extra fancy, slice the cake in half and spread a layer of strawberry or raspberry jam on the cake before sandwiching the layers back together. Then cut into cubes. This will make for a much more interesting cake layer in your trifle.
  • Layer from heaviest to lightest ingredients:
    • Cake;
    • Jello cubes;
    • Chopped fruit;
    • Custard;
    • Whipped Cream.

Don’t forget to decorate the top with more chopped fruit.

Refrigerate a few hours up to overnight to really let the flavours come together and the cake to soften before serving. It is the perfect dessert to make the day before as the longer it sits the tastier it gets!

To be honest though, I loved the taste and texture of this pound cake I almost didn’t want to turn it into trifle! And then when we had the trifle that seemed even better! So in the end both turned out so good. Hope you try it!

Easy Cream Cheese Pound Cake

A simple dense but still soft creamy and subtly tangy pound cake made with just 9 ingredients and a little bit of patience! Perfect with berries and whipped cream or in a trifle!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Cooling Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert, Vegetarian
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (345g)
  • 1 cup full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature (226g or one brick)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (500g)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature (80g)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups cake flour (spoon & leveled) (354g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional for serving: homemade whipped cream & fresh berries

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325Β°F (163Β°C). Generously grease a 10-12 cup pan with butter or nonstick spray. (I used an 8" round pan, but a square or bundt pan will work really well here too, or use two 9" x 5" loaf pans).
  • Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat 1.5 cups butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 cup room temperature cream cheese and beat on high speed until completely smooth and combined, about 1 minute.
  • Add 2 cups sugar and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute, then add 1/3 cup sour cream and 2 tsp vanilla essence and beat on high speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Turn the mixer on low speed, add the 6 eggs in one at a time allowing each to fully mix in before adding the next. Careful not to overmix after the eggs have been added.
  • Once the 6th egg is combined, stop the mixer and add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat on medium speed *just* until combined. Do not overmix! Using a rubber spatula or sturdy whisk, give the batter a final turn to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be a little thick and very creamy.
  • Pour/spoon batter evenly into prepared pan. Bang the pan on the counter once or twice to bring up any air bubbles. Bake for 80-95 minutes (if using two loaf pans it should take about 60 minutes). Loosely tent the baking cake with aluminum foil halfway through bake time to ensure the surface does not over-brown. The key to pound cake is a slow and low bake time. Trust the process!
  • Use a clean toothpick to test for doneness. Insert the toothpick in the centre of the cake. Once it comes out completely clean, the pound cake is done. This is a large heavy cake so don’t be surprised if it takes longer in your oven. If it needs longer, bake longer!
  • Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours inside the pan. Then invert the slightly cooled pound cake onto a wire rack or serving dish. Allow to cool completely.
  • Slice and serve with optional toppings like homemade whipped cream & fresh berries.
  • Cover leftover cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for upto 3 months. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Notes

I strongly recommend using cake flour for this recipe. To make your own cake flour: for every 1 cup of cake flour you need in a recipe: take 1 cup all purpose flour, remove 2 tbsp., replace with 2 tbsp. of corn flour. Sift to remove lumps and mix well.Β 
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Got leftover pound cake try turning it into trifle!

Easy Trifle

A simple creamy layered dessert that is even better made a day before. Served chilled with loads of fresh fruit, it is the perfect summer dessert!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Resting Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert
Servings: 8

Ingredients

For the Pound Cake Layer

  • 1/2 of my easy cream cheese pound cake or 1 container store bought pound cake. (see recipe link below)
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam, or other jam of choice (optional)

For the Jello Layer

  • 1 package strawberry jello
  • strawberries, banana, grapes, or other fruit of choice

For the Custard Layer

  • 4 tbsp custard powder (I like the bird's brand custard powder)
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups whipped cream

Instructions

Prepare the Jello

  • Follow the package directions to make the jello. Ideally allow it to set in a large square or rectangular dish so it will be easy to cut into cubes later on.
  • Once Jello has set, cut into 1-2 inch cubes and set aside.
  • While it sets, make the custard and chop any fruit you are using into bite sized pieces.

Prepare the Custard

  • In a small bowl mix 2tbsp custard powder with a few tbsp of the milk. Mix well and set side.
  • In a large saucepan heat the remaining milk on medium low until just starting to come to a simmer. Pour in the custard powder mixture and keep stirring as it comes to a boil.
  • Once the mixture has come to a boil and thickened, turn off the heat and pour into a separate bowl to cool. If you do not like that film on top of custard, place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the custard as it cools to prevent the film from forming (personally I love it, and it becomes a little chefs treat before I assemble the trifle πŸ˜‰ )
  • Allow to cool completely before assembling the trifle.

Prepare the Cake Layer

  • As an optional step, cut your cake in half lengthwise and spread a layer of jam in the middle before placing the top half back on.
  • Cut the cake into bite sized cubes. Place the cake cubes into a large glass serving bowl. Set aside.

Assemble the Trifle

  • Add a layer of jello cubes on top of the cake layer in your serving bowl.
  • Sprinkle with any chopped fruit you are using. Reserve a few chopped fruit for decorating the top of the trifle.
  • Gently pour the custard all over the jello and fruit layer. Making sure it covers everything well.
  • Using a spatula, gently spread a thin even layer of whipped cream on top of the custard layer. Decorate with the reserved chopped fruit.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. It is best if you let it set overnight. Serve chilled!

Notes

Highly recommend you try this with my easy cream cheese pound cake recipe!

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