2 sticks (1 Cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for buttering pan
3 Cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) plus additional for dusting
3/4 tsp salt
3 Cups sugar
7 large eggs, warming at room temperature for ~30 min
2 tsp Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Paste
1 Cup heavy cream
Special equipment: a 10-inch tube pan (4-1/2 inches deep; not with a removable bottom), or a 10-inch Bundt pan (3-1/4 inches deep; 3-quart capacity)
Balsamic Grilled Peaches (or your favorite stone fruit!)
4-1/2 Tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar – Traditional Balsamic works great!
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (or try our spearmint leaves or peppermint extract in a pinch!)
6 ripe large peaches, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 Cup chilled whipping cream
6 slices pound cake
3 to 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Make the cake: Put rack in middle position in the oven (do not preheat yet).
Liberally butter the tube or Bundt pan before dusting buttered surfaces with flour. Tap out any excess flour that does not stick to the butter.
Use a sifter to sift together the salt and previously sifted cake flour (3 Cups) into a bowl. (<— wins prize for using variations on word “sift” most times in a single sentence!) Now sift the previously sifted flour mixture into another bowl, making it three times that the flour has been sifted.
Using a heavy-duty electric mixer and the paddle attachment on medium-high speed, beat together the two sticks of unsalted butter and sugar until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 5 min (6-8 min with a hand-held mixer). Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating batter for one minute after each addition, then add the vanilla paste or extract. Reduce mixer speed to low before adding one half of the copiously-sifted flour. Add entire cup of heavy cream, followed by the remaining sifted flour. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl before returning the mixer to medium-high speed. Beat cake batter for another 5 minutes. The thick batter will eventually become very creamy and have a satiny sheen.
Transfer the cake batter into prepared pan and sharply tap the side of the pan against the counter once or twice to even out the batter and/or eliminate any trapped air bubbles. Place cake pan in the (still cold) oven before turning oven temperature to 350°F.
Bake cake until it appears golden. A wooden toothpick or thin skewer, inserted in the middle of the cake, will come out clean (no gooey cake batter attached), after 60 – 75 min.
Removed cake pan from oven and allow to cool, in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 min. To separate the cake from the pan, carefully run a thin knife (or a bakeware buddy) around edges of the cake pan before inverting the cake directly onto the wire rack, allowing it to finish cooling completely.
Make ahead: Cake keeps, if well-covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container, at room temperature up to 5 days.
30 min before dessert-time, make the grilled fruit:
Prepare barbecue grill to cook on medium-high heat. Whisk together 3 Tbsp brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and chopped mint in a large bowl until blended. Add peach slices to sugary marinade and toss gently to coat the fruit. Allow the fruit to soak in the mixture for at least 5 minutes.
Using an electric mixer and the whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream with the remaining 1-1/2 Tbsp of brown sugar until peaks form; refrigerate until just before serving.
Spread pound cake slices on both sides with softened unsalted butter. Lightly grill each slice of cake until barely warmed and browned. Remove the fruit from the balsamic syrup, and briefly grill the peach / stone fruit halves, just long enough to soften the fruit and give them grill marks.
Arrange cake slices on 6 dessert plates. Top each piece of pound cake with the grilled peaches (optional: also add a little drizzle of leftover balsamic syrup), then finish with a dollop of whipped cream.