Cream cheese is a creamy, spreadable cow's milk cheese with a slightly tangy flavor. Besides its most famous uses as a spread for bagels and a cheesecake filling, it's also used in cookie doughs, cake and brownie batters, frostings and fillings. It occasionally makes its way to the savory side of cooking, appearing in pastas, dips, soups, and sauces.
8 oz. = about 1 cup
For almost all baked goods that call for cream cheese, use the kind that comes in a brick (we like regular Philadelphia brand cream cheese) and not in a tub. The cream cheese in a tub is formulated to make it more spreadable than the brick kind. That's fine for your toasted bagel, but it's usually not good when you're using the cream cheese as an ingredient.
Most recipes call for cream cheese to be at room temperature before using.