3tablespoonsorange juice(about 1 large or 2 small oranges)
TO MAKE THE CAKE:
Prep and preheat: grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan, line it with a parchment sling, and grease the parchment paper as well. Preheat oven to 350°F, and place your baking rack one rung below middle in the oven.
Zest and juice citrus: first zest the citrus, then slice in half and juice (straining or removing seeds with a spoon). Set juice aside for use later in the soak and glaze. (Zest the citrus right over your bowl if possible to catch all the flavorful oils that fly off in the process!)
Mix dries: combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl until well-blended and set aside.
Cream fats, sugar and flavors: add butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and zests to a large mixing bowl and cream with a hand or stand mixer until very smooth and fluffy on medium-high for 1-2 minutes.
Add eggs: add in the eggs one by one, and beat on medium-low after each addition. Scrape bowl between each egg and mix until well combined, although the batter will look a little broken which is okay here (we have a lot of liquid in there that will blend in better once we add the dries).
Mix in dries, then milk: add the dry ingredient blend and combine on low speed just until the mixture is about 80% mixed (keep speed nice and low here as over-mixing will toughen your cake!). Scrape the bowl, pour in the milk, then finish mixing on low until batter is smooth and fully combined.
Transfer to pan: transfer batter into prepared pan and smooth to level the top. Use the "butter trick" if you like to ensure a clean split in the center of your loaf (see notes for "how to" instructions).
Bake loaf: bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the surface is a deep golden brown, a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the batter in the center of the top split springs back when gently pressed (a thermometer inserted into the center of the cake should read 190°F+ when the loaf is fully baked).
Cool loaf: allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes while you prepared the syrup.
TO SOAK THE CAKE:
Combine and heat: combine all soak ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds at full power and then whisk mixture until sugar dissolves. Continue to heat in 10-15 second intervals as needed until sugar is mostly dissolved. (If preferred, this can be done on the stove.)
Un-pan loaf: after 30 minutes of cooling (the loaf will still be warm), carefully loosen the ends of the loaf from the pan, pull it out for the pan using the parchment sling, and transfer it to a wire rack set over a piece of parchment or foil for easy clean-up.
Generously soak loaf: using a pastry brush, brush the top, sides, and end of the cake with the full amount of glaze (I know it seems like a lot but be sure to keep brushing the loaf in multiple coats to use it all!). If you don't have a brush, see the recipe notes for an alternative.
Cool fully: allow cake to cool fully to room temperature.
TO GLAZE THE CAKE:
Make glaze: once the cake is cool, mix together all the glaze ingredients with a fork until smooth and well blended. The glaze should be thick, but still settle to a smooth surface in the bowl a few seconds after you stop stirring. Feel free to thin with a little extra juice or milk to your preferred texture.
Glaze loaf: with the loaf still on the wire rack over the parchment/foil, slowly pour the glaze over the surface of the loaf, spreading fully to the edges and ends with a knife or offset spatula, and allow the excess to drip off below the rack.
Slice, share and enjoy! For a fully set finish, allow the glaze to set for at least an hour before slicing, then share this fresh and zesty loaf with family and friends alike for a sweet bite to brighten their day!
Test Kitchen Tips
The "Butter Trick:" for a pretty split top every time!
Melt 2 tablespoon of butter in a shallow plate with a lip.
Using a bench knife, straight-edge cake comb or the end of a spatula, dip the thin edge into the melted butter, then very gentle, press the butter-coated edge into the center of your loaf, running the long way, right where you'd like the loaf to crack. Only press the edge of your tool in ¼" or less and be careful not to drip butter anywhere else on the loaf or it will crack there too.
You can do this two to three times until your butter line runs the length of your loaf, while leaving 1" of the batter on both ends with no butter line (this makes sure the loaf doesn't crack at the very ends which looks prettier once everything's baked). Then you're ready for the oven!
Loaf over-browning? If your loaf is getting too brown during the bake, you can loosely tent it with aluminum foil while it finishes baking, but you don't typically need to do that with this recipe (it's meant to be a deep golden brown on top).
No pastry brush? If you don't have a brush, you can slowly pour the soak on the loaf in a number of rounds, flipping it on its side to make sure those are soaked as well. Just allow enough time between rounds for the last one to soak in before rotating and working on the next side.
Classic Orange or Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake: feel free to only use one citrus zest/juice type if you prefer all lemon or all orange flavor. You should still add the same total amount of juice or zest, but you can just get it all from your the single fruit of your choice.
⭐ Did you try this tasty recipe? ⭐Please give it a ⭐ rating in the recipe card or leave a comment at the bottom of the page to help others find this sweet recipe. I’d love it if you'd share your treats (literally and electronically!), and tag @mint.and.mallow.kitchen on Instagram or Facebook so I can see your beautiful bakes! Xo, Jocelyn