Heavenly pecan pound cake.

Cream cheese, butter, and all those toasty pecans? Yes, please! This recipe for a cream cheese-based pound cake, studded with pecans, is one of my very favorites. I’ve had this  stashed in my binder of recipes clipped from newspapers, magazines and who-knows-where-else for a long time, and made it often. (Note to young readers: this binder thingy is the analog version of Pinterest.)

I’m not a sweet-sweet person, so I reduced the granulated sugar called for in the original recipe by a bit and loved the results. Be sure to gently toast the pecans and cool them before tossing them into the cake batter.

Pound cake has endured for good reason: it’s not at all hard to make, simple yet impressive and delicious without a lick of frosting.

pecan cream cheese pound cake

makes about 24 servings

1 1/2 cups whole raw pecans
1 1/2 (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 1/2–3 cups sugar (use the larger quantity if you want a very sweet cake)
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups cake flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325°. Arrange the pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5–7 minutes (watch to be sure they do not burn). Remove to a cutting board and chop fine. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease a 10-inch bundt or tube pan; dust the greased pan liberally with about 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Cut the butter and cream cheese into chunks and place in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer). Beat the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and blend to combine. Whisk together the cake flour and salt in a medium bowl; use a 1/4-cup measure to add flour to the batter one scoop at a time, blending well on low speed. Keep adding flour until you have about 1/2 cup left; toss the chopped pecans with this remaining flour and add it to the batter. Mix just to combine. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; smooth the top and tap the pan briskly on the countertop to settle the batter. Bake for 1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the top of the cake is deeply caramel-brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool about 45 minutes. Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake; invert it onto a baking sheet and then onto a serving plate (domed side up). Cool completely before slicing. Cake freezes well, wrapped in a double layer of plastic and foil, up to 6 months.

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