During the summer when I was a kid, dessert on Sunday almost always meant angel food cake, strawberries and whipped cream. It was one of my favorite treats; even better were the Sundays when a pound cake magically appeared on my grandma’s table, along with the standard strawberries and whipped cream. We never had pound cake often, so it was definitely a treat to be cherished when it graced the dinner table. I loved the dense texture of the cake, how rich and moist it always was, and I especially loved the crust. It was my favorite part! I’ve since come to love pound cake for the absolute ease with which it can be prepared and the versatility with which it can be served. It’s the perfect dessert to have stashed in the freezer for unexpected company. I adore cream cheese pound cakes because of the extra little “oomph” in flavor and since I love it paired with strawberries so much, I decided to put the strawberries in the cake!
Like all pound cakes, this one comes together pretty much effortlessly. A fabulously large amount of butter, sugar and eggs are creamed together before flour is added. Most pound cake recipes call for all-purpose flour, however I used cake flour, which creates more of a lighter, tender crumb than the all-purpose flour. It’s a subtle change, but I think it makes a huge difference in the texture of the pound cake.
My mom declared this cake one of the top five things that I have made, ever. That’s pretty high praise, considering I make (and she samples) hundreds of recipes a year. She first tasted a piece of it at work with a cup of coffee; she promptly emailed me to tell me how much she loved it, using all capital letters. That’s enthusiasm! This is definitely a basic recipe worthy of being stashed away in a “tried and true” recipe box. Some day your grandchildren might reminisce about eating this cake at your house!
A quick parting note: If you prefer a plain cream cheese pound cake, you can use this exact recipe (the same baking time and temperature) and simply omit the strawberry swirl filling.
Make the Strawberry Swirl: Combine the strawberries, sugar, water and cornstarch in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes very thick. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature before using.
Make the Pound Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a standard-size Bundt pan.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until combined and soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar continue to beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl once or twice, until the mixture is very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each one is completely incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, reduce the speed to low, and gradually add the flour until it has all been combined. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Spoon about ⅔ of the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Top evenly with the strawberry filling, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan. Use a thin paring knife to gently swirl the strawberry filling with the cake batter just a few times – less is more. Spoon the remainder of the cake batter on top of the filling and gently spread to the edges of the pan, covering the filling.
Bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving. Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.