Lay the bread on a flat work surface. Spread 4 slices with a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese, and top each with the remaining slices of bread.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Place the bread flat in a casserole dish and cover with the egg mixture. Let soak* for 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the pan. Add as many slices of soaked bread to the pan as will fit in 1 layer, and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
Remove from the pan, place on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan and cook the remaining bread.
Sprinkle the French toast with powdered sugar and serve immediately with syrup.
NOTE: If using fresh bread, do not soak longer than 5 minutes, as the bread will get too soggy.