Summer Fruit Cake

Ah, summer in San Francisco. Only here on a warm 80 deg. day is it necessary to pack a sweater and scarf in your purse/bag just in case it gets chilly…and believe me, it always does.  The fickle nature of the weather here has made me truly appreciate those rare run-around-in-shorts days. This Saturday was one of those days. Sunday, too, actually.

I spent most of the weekend outside laying out in the sun, trying to make up for being cold for a year. The only time I was inside was when I was baking this cake. I went a little crazy at the Farmer’s Market—organic peaches and apricots for $0.75/lb. and cherries for $1/lb.? I couldn’t help myself—so had a lot of fruit to use up.

After looking at like 50 recipes for cakes, galettes, and pies, I finally decided on a Joy of Baking recipe for Cherry Cake. It’s a no-fuss, yet pretty cake that is texture-wise a cross between a cake and a clafoutis, i.e. it’s very moist. Flavor-wise, it’s mildly citrusy and sweet and super fruity. I love how the juice from the fruit flavors and sweetens the batter, and also, how you get a piece a fruit with every bite! Tastes like summer…yum.

Enjoy!

Summer Fruit Cake

(adapted from a recipe found on Joy of Baking)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb (454 grams) fresh fruit (I used cherries, peaches and apricots)

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar (I used evaporated cane sugar)

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter,  melted and cooled

1/3 cup (80 ml) milk

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Zest of 1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F (205 deg. C).  Butter and flour an 9-inch (23 cm) spring form pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Rinse, dry, and prepare the fruit however you see fit, i.e. peel, remove stone fruit pits, and slice. (I peeled the peaches, then halved and removed the pits from the peaches and apricots, and sliced. For the cherries, I used the end of a round-tipped chopstick to push out the pits, then cut each in half.)  Set aside about 1/2 of the prepped fruit and set aside for topping the cake later.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and lemon colored (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the melted butter, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat just until incorporated.  (I warmed the milk in the microwave just slightly and added in the vanilla bean to infuse in more flavor.) Add the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.  Gently fold in the fruit (but not the half that you have reserved for the top of the cake).   Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven.   Quickly arrange the remaining fruit (cherries cut side down) on the top of the cake.  Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. (Mine was not very golden, so I turned the broiler on high and let the cake brown for a minute or two.)
  6. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of softly whipped cream.

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