Almond Pound Cake with Peaches and Mascarpone Cream

Peaches and cream are a celestial pairing, and make sublime garnishes to the almond pound cake featured here. The cream in this particular duo is extra special, enhanced by the addition of some mascarpone cheese, while juicy summer peaches are simply peeled and sliced.

Butter, sugar, eggs, and flour plus a touch of almond (from chopped nuts and extract) are all that are needed to assemble this delectable pound cake. It can be baked two days ahead and easily serves 12, making it an easy finale for a summer cookout for a crowd!

Almond Pound Cake with Peaches and Mascarpone Cream

Butter and flour for a 9-inch tube pan
1 /2 cup coarsely chopped almonds (Almond slivers work particularly well.)
2 sticks (1 cup) plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1 /3 cups sugar, divided
8 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Confectioners’ sugar for garnish
6 cups peeled and sliced peaches for garnish
Mascarpone Cream (Recipe follows.)

1. Arrange an oven rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Butter a 9-inch tube pan generously, and then flour it well. (A nonstick pan would work particularly well, but would still need to be buttered and floured.) Tap out excess flour. Sprinkle chopped almonds in bottom of pan.

3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter until smooth. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup of the sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla. Alternately, beat 1/3 of the flour and 1/2 of the milk into the batter. Continue until flour and all liquids are added.

5 . With clean beaters, beat egg whites in a separate bowl on high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed and gradually add remaining 1 cup of sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until egg whites are firm and shiny. Stir 1 cup of the whites into the batter just to lighten it. Then fold the remaining whites into cake batter in 3 equal additions. Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing top.

6. Bake cake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 60 to 65 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set on rack to cool completely. Run knife around inside edges of pan to loosen cake. Invert pan and remove cake to a platter. (Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.)

7. To serve, arrange cake, bottom side up, on a serving platter and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Garnish with a bowl of sliced peaches and another of Mascarpone Cream. Serves 12.

Mascarpone Cream

1 cup whipping cream
6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1. Whip the cream until it just starts to thicken, then add the mascarpone and sugar. Continue beating until firm. Remove and stir in the vanilla. (Mascarpone cream can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Makes about 2 cups.

© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2012

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