Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries | The Baker’s Pantry
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Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries | The Baker’s Pantry

Hello Friends!
I’m back! I’m thrilled to be thrust back into my world of blogging, baking and voracious consumption. While life has pulled me away from my blogging for a while, I feel that my mind has never stopped overflowing with baking ideas to share with you! After all, my passion for baking runs through my veins and can’t be suppressed for long! I’ve really missed my time focusing on the blog and connecting with my baking community and it feels so great to immerse myself into it again.

For this post, I want to highlight one of my favorite cakes that I reach for time and time again. It’s versatile for all occasions and a sure crowd pleaser. Pound cake; presumed the most humble of all butter cakes and often misrepresented as dense, dry and unworthy. I’m here to prove different. Pound cake prepared the right way will yield a buttery moist cake with a fine texture and an exceptional crumb. I like to think of myself as a pretty simple girl, not a lot of fluff (not too much anyway). I tend to garner this same attribute when it comes to desserts as well. I don’t like overly sweet or fussy, but instead rich and indulgent with the perfect amount of sweetness…pound cake certainly fits the bill. What I love most about this cake is that it also lends itself as a blank canvas eager to meld with almost any flavor profile. Some flavor ideas might include: For a bright citrus flavor, add the zest and juice of a lime, orange, lemon or any combination of these (just don’t add more than 2 Tbsp. of juice as it will affect the outcome of the cake). For added warmth, scrape the seeds of a vanilla bean into the batter or add a spice combination of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom. For an indulgent twist, infuse the cake with coffee, espresso or chocolate. The options are literally endless…

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries | The Baker’s Pantry

Pound cake originated in Europe in the early 1700’s and was given its name for the main ingredients it is comprised of; a pound each of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. These four unassuming ingredients come together beautifully to yield greatness. While no cake I’ve ever made has weighed four pounds (some have come close), the ratio of 1:1:1:1 is the general rule of thumb when making this cake. This recipe makes two loaves at a time and when wrapped well, it freezes beautifully.

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries | The Baker’s Pantry
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Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries | The Baker’s Pantry

Here are some simple guidelines to follow as a general rule of thumb to ensure cake greatness.
1. Don’t just scoop the flour when measuring. Flour packed too much can create a dense cake. Whisk it and fluff it with a little love before spooning it into the measuring cup and then level with a knife. It’s also important to whisk or sift the dry ingredients to alleviate any annoying clumps in your batter.

2. Let all of your dairy come to room temperature. It is so important for your butter, eggs and any liquids to not only come to room temperature, but to also be the same temperature as one another. This ensures that they will better incorporate with one another. The beautiful and necessary air pockets that develop as the butter is creamed will be destroyed and will cease if you add cold eggs to it! Take your dairy ingredients out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before beginning. If you find yourself short on time, you can use a few shortcuts. Remove the butter from the wrapper, slice it and set it on a plate for about 15-30 minutes. Eggs can be placed into a bowl with warm water for about 5-10 minutes.

3. Don’t short change the creaming stage. It’s easy to undervalue this step when you have good momentum going, however, this stage is a critical step to creating good structure in your cake. Ensuring that the eggs, butter and sugar emulsify properly will result in a well risen cake. All of this said, once the dry ingredients are added, please don’t overmix your batter! Once the flour is just combined into the batter (should still see some white streaks), carefully hand mix a few more time with a large spatula and you’re good to go!

4. Don’t forget to prepare your pan. I lightly butter and flour my pans (including all pesky corners!) and like to use a piece of parchment paper between the butter and flour layers. This ensures easy cake removal. I also find that light colored pans tend to deliver a more evenly baked cake with a nice golden crust.

5. Check your oven temperature! Always check the actual temperature of your oven with a thermometer. Just because you set it at 350 degrees does not mean that it is actually running at that temperature.

6. Partially cool the cake in the pan before removing it. A cake just out of the oven is way too vulnerable to remove from the hot pan. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes and then carefully remove it to let it cool completely on a cooling rack.
Now that you’re armed with some tips, go bake this cake! You won’t be disappointed.

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries | The Baker’s Pantry
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries | The Baker’s Pantry

 

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Balsamic Cherries          {Print Recipe}
Yield: (2) 8×4 loafs – 6-8 servings per cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp sour cream, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 ¼ cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)
Cream Cheese Glaze (see recipe below)
Balsamic Cherries (see recipe below)
Butter and flour two 8×4 loaf pans. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter at high speed until light and fluffy, about one minute. Add the cream cheese and beat well at high speed until incorporated, about one minute. Add the sugar and beat at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 more minutes.
Add the sour cream and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and mix well at medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the butter and egg mixture beating on low speed until smooth. Using a large spatula, mix the batter gently removing any unincorporated bits at the bottom of the bowl.
Fill each pan approximately ½ full. Bake about 45 to 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake on wire racks for 15-20 minutes before turning them out of their pans to cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or enrobe with some delicious cream cheese glaze (see recipe below).
Note: This cake is best when eaten the day it’s made (not hard to achieve), but for longer storage, it can be refrigerated for a week or double-wrapped and frozen for 6 months. Let the cake come to room temperature before devouring. If freezing, wait to add the glaze until just before serving.
Cream Cheese Glaze:
Yield: enough glaze for two pound cake loaves

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
6-8 Tbsp. milk, plus more if needed
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and mascarpone on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add the sugar and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add salt, lemon juice, and milk; mix on low speed until smooth. If glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Balsamic Cherries:
Yields: 2 cups

1 pound frozen cherries, thawed with juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp kirsch
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water
Pinch of salt and pepper (optional)
Simmer the cherries, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, almond extract and kirsch in a saucepan for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water. Stir this mixture into the hot cherry mixture. Place back on heat and cook until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently.
Enjoy on top of the pound cake or just with a spoon.

Enjoy!!