Let Them Eat (Breakfast) Cake
I'm a sucker for summer bounty. I spend hours upon hours strolling the local farmers markets, overloading my bag with various berries and stonefruit as they come into season. There's nothing better in the mornings than a breakfast of fresh fruit, but there are only so many blueberry pancakes and bowls of fruit-topped granola and cereal that I can take. Never one to turn down indulgences before noon, I've turned to making fruit-laden breakfast cakes. Less sugary than coffee cakes, breakfast cakes are a delicious way to showcase summer fruit. They're also a luxurious offering to houseguests -- I revel in presenting homemade baked breakfasts to unsuspecting visitors.
Simple to throw together, pretty as a picture and divine the following day, these beauties also work as a simple dessert with vanilla ice cream. As they dry out, I top them with a bit of vanilla yogurt. The blueberry pudding cake from Gourmet Magazine has been a staple since the magazine ran it on its July cover last year. I love the way the berries nestle into the cake and provide a perfect balance of tart and sweet. I have the recipe memorized and can whip it out in a flash. However, since making their appearance at my local market, nectarines have wiggled their way into top status, thanks to a spiced nectarine cake. With a simple cinnamon-laced topping and a lemon-infused dough, this cake is refreshing, but simple. With thinner slices of nectarines, the fruit sinks into the batter and flavors the entire cake. The recipe tastes just as delicious with peaches and plums.
If you do not have self-rising flour, use all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt per cup. Also, you can substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar topping.
Spiced Nectarine Cake
Adapted from Bon AppÃ©tit
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
4 medium nectarines, cut into approximately 10 slices
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch-diameter springform pan. (I used a 10-inch springform with fantastic results.)
Using electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add 2/3 cup sugar and beat until blended. Beat in eggs one at a time, then lemon juice and lemon peel. Beat in flour until smooth. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Arrange enough nectarine slices atop batter in concentric circles to cover completely, pressing lightly to adhere.
Mix cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar together. Sprinkle over cake.
Bake until cake is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour (50 minutes for plums, 80 minutes for peaches). Cut around cake to loosen; remove pan sides. Serve cake slightly warm or at room temperature.
Makes 8 servings.
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