Home Cooking 37

Really good, ultra simple summer fruit cake

Sir Gawain | Jul 31, 200505:20 PM

OK, this is no groundbreaking stuff, but man, it's SO good. I've made it no fewer than 3 times in 3 weeks. There are a gazillion variations on this theme out there, but this one is the best I've ever tried. I have adapted it - slightly - from MS Living.

Fruit tarts are great, but I have come to realize that I actually prefer cakes (spongy batter rather than crisp shell) as a vehicle for summer fruit. They just have more substance, and are all soft inside and you can have them for breakfast... This recipe is laughably simple, in terms of equipment you don't need more than two bowls, a whisk and a spatula. It's that simple.

6 tablespoons butter, room temp
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
scant 1 cup sugar; of this, put aside 2 tblsp
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
(optional: a few drops of lemon oil)
Fruit: berries (blueberries or raspberries; if using r-berries, frozen ones work better), apricots, plums...

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" cake pan and coat with breadcrumbs or flour. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

With a spatula, cream together the butter and all but 2 tblsp of the sugar. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla.

Stir in the flour mixture and mix with a spatula until smooth. Transfer batter to the pan. Cover the surface of the batter with the fruit, pressing the fruit slightly into the batter. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

(If using plums, mix the extra sugar with about 1/2 tsp cinnamon and toss the plums in the mixture, reserving a little to sprinkle on top. Also, a bit of lemon oil tossed with the plums gives the cake a nice zesty flavor.)

Bake for 10 minutes at 350, then reduce to 325 and bake for another 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.

Cool in the pan for 15 min., then unmold and cool completely on a rack.

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