Almond Pound Cake with Strawberry Topping

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1-1/2 Cups unsalted butter, room temperature (3 sticks)
3 Cups granulated sugar
3 Cups cake flour, sifted after measuring
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Paste
1 tsp Almond Extract
6 jumbo eggs (or 7 large eggs)

2 lbs fresh strawberries (sliced)
3 Tbsp CaraCara Orange-Vanilla Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp Blood Orange Fused Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Demerara Sugar

For the pound cake: Preheat oven to 300° F.  Grease and flour a large (12 Cup) Bundt pan or two loaf pans.  Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Combine the three sticks of butter and the cream cheese, beating on the lowest speed until mixture is smooth.

Add the sugar to the bowl, and beat until batter becomes light and fluffy. Add the vanilla paste, then the almond extract and salt. Beat briefly after each addition until ingredient is just incorporated.

Alternate adding one of the eggs, then a little of the flour, beating after each step just until the yellow of the yolk disappears and the flour is incorporated. Try to not over beat the batter at this point.

Use a rubber spatula to scrape the buttery mixture from the sides of the mixing bowl needed. Remove bowl from under the mixer, scrape the batter from the beaters, and fold the contents of the bowl a few times, pulling up the batter from the bottom of the bowl.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the surface to distribute the batter evenly throughout the pan. Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Pound cake is done when a toothpick, inserted into the middle of the pan, comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven and allow the cake to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack (to allow air to circulate under and over the warm pan), before carefully inverting onto a serving plate. Store leftovers, if there are any, in an airtight container for up to five days.

For the topping: Mix the topping ingredients together in a generously-sized bowl and allow mixture to macerate (“get juicy”) while the cake bakes.

Once the cake is cooled and ready to serve, slice cake and serve with a couple tablespoons of topping on each plate.