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Author Notes: This cake is one of my most favorite summer desserts. An ex's father made it on numerous occasions, and I managed to track it down after we parted ways knowing only that it was most likely a Rachel Ray recipe (http://bit.ly/1nxjkBB). I've tweaked it slightly by swapping out the sugar for honey in the lemon syrup, using Neufchâtel instead of cream cheese, and adding in a little bit of fresh basil. It comes together pretty effortlessly, with a mere ~15 minutes of stove top cooking and zero oven time (unless you make the pound cake from scratch). An overnight rest in the fridge lets the layers get all friendly and harmonious with each other, and the result is absolutely delicious. I've used blueberries and black raspberries in this version, but it works splendidly with all summer berries. —Carey Nershi
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 10 basil leaves
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup blueberry preserves
- 1 1/4 cups blueberries
- 3/4 cup black raspberries
- 8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- a few basil leaves, minced
- 1 loaf of pound cake (approx. 9" x 4" x 4"), cut into 1/3-inch slices
- lemon-honey syrup
- Combine the water, honey, and lemon zest in a small sauce pan. Heat until the honey has completely dissolved into the water, then remove from heat. Muddle the basil and add it to the pan. Let sit for 20 minutes, then strain and stir in the lemon juice.
- Combine the water, berries, and preserves in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to thicken (approximately 15 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.
- Beat together the Neufchâtel, confectioners sugar, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks, then fold in the Neufchâtel mixture.
- Arrange pound cake slices on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, cutting to fill in gaps where needed. Brush the pound cake layer with a healthy amount of the lemon-honey syrup. Spread half of the berry mixture on top of the pound cake and sprinkle with minced basil. Spread half of the whipped cream over top of the berry layer. Repeat with another layer of pound cake, lemon-honey syrup, remaining berry mixture, basil, and the rest of the whipped cream.
- Cover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or overnight. When ready to serve, run a knife around the inner edge of the pan. Release from the pan and top with fresh berries.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Berry Recipe