Grilled Pound Cake with Fresh Berry Salsa and Smoked Whipped Cream

Grilled Pound Cake with Mixed Berry Salsa and Smoked Whipped Cream

Other Recipes from Project Fire Episode 313: Raichlen’s Rules: Desserts

This simple dessert, which showcases whichever berries are in season, has been enjoyed for years by attendees of Barbecue University, the intense 3-day program Steven teaches annually at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. And because it uses store-bought pound cake—we’ve found Sara Lee’s just holds up better on the grill than homemade—it’s incredibly easy to make and serve.

If only adults will be indulging, add a splash of tequila or Grand Marnier to the cream after whipping.


Grilled Pound Cake with Fresh Berry Salsa and Smoked Whipped Cream

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves: 4 to 6
  • Equipment: a handheld smoker (optional)


For the salsa:

  • 4 cups mixed seasonal berries (blueberries, raspberries, quartered strawberries, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons thinly slivered fresh mint, plus 8 small sprigs for garnish
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, or more to taste

For the Smoked Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar) or agave syrup

For the cake:

  • 8 slices (3/4-inch thick) Sara Lee brand pound cake (see Note below), thawed if frozen
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Make the salsa: Place the berries, mint, jalapeño(s), lime juice, and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl but do not mix. The salsa can be prepared to this stage up to 2 hours ahead and refrigerated.

Step 2: Make the Smoked Whipped Cream: Place the cream in a large glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, leaving one edge open. Fill and light a handheld smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Insert the tube of the smoker, fill the bowl with smoke, withdraw the tube, and tightly cover the bowl with the plastic wrap. Let infuse for 4 minutes. Stir the cream to incorporate the smoke. Repeat 1 to 3 times. Beat the cream to soft peaks in a chilled bowl using an electric mixer, hand-held beater, or whisk. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until firm. The Smoked Whipped Cream can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered.

Step 3: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium-high. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Lightly brush the cake slices on both sides with the melted butter. Arrange the slices of cake on the grill at a diagonal to the bars of the grate and grill until lightly browned on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning with a spatula. Transfer the grilled cake slices to a platter or plates. Top each slice with salsa, whipped cream, and sprigs of mint.

Note: Sara Lee brand of cake generally works better than homemade pound cake or bakery brands.

Recipe Tips

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Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2021 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein

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