Sir Gawain, I could kiss you! My husband wouldn't even care b/c he loved your cake too! I enjoy many things food but don't rave about much; however, your ultra simple summer fruit cake, which I modified a bit and am now dubbing my raspberry rhapsody cake, is rave-worthy. So simple, yet so rhapsodic. A recipe worth keeping forever, passing on, and tweaking in all sorts of ways.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this cake bears resemblance to galleygirl's pear tart, which I made once in the winter. No offense to Madame GG since her cake rightfully has many suitors, but my heart fluttered more w/ Sir Gawain's version. The crumb was a bit more delicate and tender and there was a tinge more dimension in flavor that, w/o seeing the original tart recipe, I can't quite pinpoint the reason.
SG's recipe isn't just for summer fruit, but I think could showcase most any fruit nicely. Flavor profiles can be altered by adding various spices, zests, extracts, and flavorings. Certain fruits might benefit from heavy cream instead of milk. As I was making the cake, I also thought how it would be great to use it for upside down cake by placing firm fruit and some brown sugar on the base and pouring the batter over it. I think I will try this reverse method w/ plums soon!
Im getting ahead of myself, so back to this raspberry rhapsody cake. I threw on about a pint of berries and would have used a little more if I had some. Since we all know that recipes were made to be tinkered with, these were my alterations followed by comments:
1. Used buttermilk instead of milk. Based on a poster's comment about buttermilk in baking, I added 1/2 tsp. of baking soda for rising. Comments: I loved this! Buttermilk gave it a tender crumb and subtle tang, and I don't think it inhibited rising.
2. Some of you know that I've been gaga over superfine sugar since my pavlova creation, so I used 3/4 c. superfine sugar in the batter. Comments: I'm quickly realizing that this ethereal sugar is nothing short of a godsend for baked goods and bakers. It melded into the butter instantly and, when I tasted the final batter, it was so silky and light. I also think this sugar afforded more even browning, as the top of my cake was the same exact color as the bottom!
3. Only had salted butter on hand so used that instead. Comments: This surprisingly had no negative impact that I could tell. In fact, I've read somewhere that some bakers prefer salted butter for certain items since the salt is so evenly distributed and infused.
4. Added the zest of one lemon to batter. Comments: Liked this w/ raspberry.
5. Used 1.5 TB brown sugar on top of cake instead of granulated sugar. Comments: Liked this and it really blended into the cake once it turned golden. Amount and type of sugar on top is great way to moderate varying fruits and sugar content.
6. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer. Comments: I was going to do it all by hand like SG suggested, but after starting, I shifted over since I think the KA gives better results in this case.
Last comment is that after baking it for 10 min. at 350F, it only took 40 min. (instead of 50-60) at 325F for it to get done. I have a thermometer so double checked, but my gas oven seems to consistently bake things in less time than called for in recipes. Here's a link to SG's original recipe: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/cooki...
Well, the final result inspired me enough to have a mini photo shoot of this raspberry beauty (w/ Princes Raspberry Beret playing in the background; not really, but I wish), so below is one photo w/ a link to a few more. Thanks for introducing us, SG!