As busy as I have been this month, I was lucky enough to have Easter day off.  And although I originally did not have any plans to attend or host a gathering, the next thing I knew, I was hosting my in-laws for an Easter meal!  (It’s a compulsion – someone stop me!)  Seriously though, we had a wonderful time and it was great to spend the day with family.  Because I came home from the hospital fairly late the night before, I tried to plan a meal that was simple enough to prepare entirely in a few hours on Sunday morning.  Despite the time crunch, I think it turned out very well.  The menu included spinach artichoke dip for an appetizer, pineapple-glazed ham as the main course with mashed potatoes, Parmesan green beans, whiskey-glazed carrots and honey yeast rolls on the side.  And for dessert, we had this phenomenal cake!  I must admit that because I am such a sucker for complex and time-consuming desserts, I had a really hard time choosing this cake.  But it ended up working out perfectly because this cake is absolutely wonderful and was just the right way to finish off a simple but delicious meal.  

There are multiple reasons why  I love this cake.  First, for its simple ingredients.  Second, how completely thick and awesome the batter gets after being whipped at a high speed to incorporate lots of air – can anyone else relate to this?  I love thick cake batter!  And last but not at all least, the taste.  A wonderfully soft, moist cake accompanied by a light fresh strawberry sauce.  Swoon.  I could barely keep myself from eating more than one piece a day.  A few tips on the cake: I think the almond extract is really important to the flavor, so don’t skip it.  Also, you could probably bake this in two loaf pans, but I think a bundt pan is a great way to fancy up a pound cake.  Finally, I am a huge fan of fruit sauces and this coulis in particular, so I would recommend making a double batch.  I ended up having to make extra for our leftover cake.  This keeps best for 2-3 days at most stored in an airtight container. 

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberry Coulis
For the cake
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (8 oz.) package Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt

For the strawberry coulis:
2 cups quartered, hulled strawberries (about 12 oz.)
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter and flour a bundt pan or tube pan (line the bottom with parchment if using a tube pan).  Combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until smooth.  Add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and airy, at least 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.  Add in the flour and salt and mix until just incorporated.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 75 minutes.  Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.  Remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool completely.  Serve at room temperature.

To make the strawberry coulis, combine the strawberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a food processor or blender.  Puree until very smooth, then press through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.  Cover and refrigerate until cold.  Serve with slices of pound cake. 

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen