Pound Cake with Strawberries & Mascarpone Cream

Today is our seventh wedding anniversary, which in length of time seems less significant than our first date, which was nearly 13 years ago. But I love the tradition of acknowledging our actual wedding date–reminiscing about that beautiful, perfect day filled with family, friends, lots of champagne and dancing–but most importantly of all, celebrating the union with my best friend and love. Our wedding cake was very nontraditional–tiers of “naked” light lemon pound cake stacked with layers of mascarpone cream and fresh strawberries. It was rustic and simple and delicious at once, an ode to strawberry shortcake, one of my favorite desserts my mom used to pull together on birthdays. To celebrate this year, I wanted to revert our wedding creation back to its original inspiration–a classic pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream–but add the genius touch of lemon in the cake and mascarpone in the cream. The result is an effortless dessert that’s easy to prepare in advance of having guests over for dinner on warm summer nights ahead. A little piece of our love story from me to you. Enjoy!

Pound Cake with Strawberries & Mascarpone Cream

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup milk
Zest of one large lemon
Strawberries, sliced
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Place butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and beat 8-10 minutes, until pale and fluffy, with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time; beat well after each one. Add the flour and beat well to combine. Fold in the milk and lemon zest. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased small loaf pan. Bake 75 minutes or more, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Top should be very golden. Let cool.

To make the mascarpone cream, blend the mascarpone and 1 tablespoon of the powdered sugar until light and fluffy, using a hand mixer. Set bowl aside. Pour the cream and remaining tablespoon of powdered sugar into a second bowl and beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.

To serve, cut slices of the pound cake, top with strawberries and a heaping spoonful of the mascarpone cream.

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