This cake is my favorite. As it comes together, it's so smooth I can't stand it, and it bakes to a beautiful pound cake. It's topped with sliced almonds, which are completely necessary to the recipe. As the cake bakes, the almonds get a crunchy, nutty flavor and form a pretty crust on the top. This is worth the time it takes in the oven, and I actually prefer to do mini-loaves of this because they bake a little more evenly.
1 C. unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. cream cheese, cold and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 ½ C. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ C. + 2 T. all-purpose flour
¼ C. sliced almonds, to top
Butter and lightly flour your pans (makes 4 mini loaves or 1 10-inch pan). Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
With an electric mixer, beat butter on low speed for 2 minutes and add cream cheese. Beat butter and cream cheese on low speed for 3 minutes, or until well-blended. Add in sugar, salt, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Then, add eggs one at a time while beating on low speed; incorporate each egg separately.
With mixer off, add flour, and slowly incorporate; beat until smooth. Add batter to pans; shake them gently to even out, then use a butter knife to smooth the top of the batter. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Place in a 300-degree oven on the middle rack. A 10-inch cake bakes about an hour and 15 minutes; for mini-loaves, I start with 45 minutes in the oven, and check until a toothpick comes out clean from the cake’s center.
Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans; cool on racks once removed from pans.