So we had two dinners last weekend back-to-back, with lots of little ones at each visit. Needless to say, it wasn't a venue where you could easily do any cooking while the guests were actually there.
I found a recipe for Mascarpone-Filled Cake with Sherried Berries on Epicurious.com here taken from Gourmet Magazine and edited it for the Time Challenged. Purchased sliced pound cake replaced the homemade cake with good results. And, if you use only bite-sized berries and a standing mixer for the cream, it's pretty much hands-free!
For the cream:
8 ounces mascarpone (1 cup)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
Whipped all together until soft peaks form
For the berries:
1/2 cup Fino (dry) Sherry
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups mixed berries, cut if large
these can stand at room temp up to 3 hours.
Enjoy! I have to say left over mascarpone is amazing with toast and strawberry jam. You'll feel guilty just eating it but will keep doing so anyway.