I didn’t ask hubby what kind of cake he’d like for his birthday but I know I’m safe with this little beauty.
Tell me – when does this happen in real life? From the blueberries to the mascarpone, the balsamic to the brown sugar, I had absolutely everything I needed. Every last ingredient. There they were – all giving me the stink eye – as if to say – “Hey lady – use us, we’re here, don’t let us get lost behind the vanilla almond milk and nectarines… We’re available now, we’re fresh and we’re ready…”
So, how could I resist? My wheels started turning and Blueberry Mascarpone Pound Cake with Marinated Berries was born.
I had no choice. And not for nothin’ – all’s well that ends well – this is one of the tastiest most decadent yet still refined classic pound cakes that I’ve enjoyed in a while. And there’s no doubt Dom is going to love it!
My superman turns another year more charming tomorrow… Yep, April Fool’s Day! Legend has it – when the doctor handed Dom to my mother-in-law and said, “It’s a boy!”, she said, “You’re kidding, right? It’s April Fool’s…” Nope – Doc did not employ silliness that morning – and Mona received the gorgeous gift of her first little boy, Dominick Jude.
This recipe is a combination of flavors and techniques I’ve combined as a result of favorite recipes I’ve collected over the years. Though lemon and ricotta can create bright flavor and beautiful texture, I am hooked on the gentle sweetness that mascarpone delivers. And any chance I have to use vanilla bean paste, I’m all about it. The tiny flecks of seeds along with its pleasing aroma make me melt a little.
This cake has a tender yet substantial crumb. The crust bakes up to a perfect crisp as if to protect the cake from drying out. It’s silky and moist, sweet and savory.
I decided to marinate berries in a little balsamic, brown sugar and yes, vanilla bean paste, for a topping that adds a little more texture and a tiny (I mean teeny-tiny) tartness to our blueberry bread. Adding the topping is optional, of course. I would describe it as a nice pop of flavor that adds to the cake like, say, a perfect handbag or a silky scarf adds to a gorgeous ensemble. Not necessary but nice.
This recipe’s a keeper…just like my Number #1 Man! My Birthday Boy! My Numero Uno!
- Pound Cake
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup mascarpone (8 oz.), room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- ½ Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1½ cups blueberries
- Marinated Berries
- ¼ cup balsamic
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1½ cups fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Butter sides and bottom of a 9x5-inch loaf pan then right before filling with batter, line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Rinse 1½ cups blueberries and toss them with a little flour to lightly coat.
- Use an electric mixer on high speed, beat together the butter, mascarpone and sugar for 3 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed for one minute after each addition.
- Mix in the vanilla bean paste.
- Without over-mixing, stir in the dry ingredients (in 3 additions) until just incorporated.
- Gently stir in the blueberries.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing out the top with a rubber spatula.
- Place on a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven.
- Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Check the cake when there's about 20 minutes to go, you may want to put a sheet of foil over the top to keep it from browning further.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes in the pan.
- Gently remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- In the meantime, prepare the marinated blueberries.
- Rinse 1½ cups of blueberries and place in a medium bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic with brown sugar and vanilla bean paste.
- Pour the balsamic mixture over the berries.
- Let the fruit marinate for about 15 minutes.
- Drain the marinade.
- Slice the pound cake.
- Serve berries over top.
A couple birthday recipes from yesteryear…