Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Fruit Basket Coffee Cake

Summer certainly brings lots of kinds of fruit. Right now we have ripe peaches, luscious dark cherries, olallieberries right off the vine, and raspberries, plus green grapes and some plums that are almost ripe which are turning a lovely shade of red-gold on the tree down the hill. The plums and olallieberries are the only local fruit, but the cherries, peaches and raspberries are certainly seasonal.

Yesterday I made a lovely coffee cake to showcase the peaches, cherries, olallieberries and raspberries. It's a variation of the Nectarine Cake in Lauren Chattman's Cake Keeper Cakes book, one of the great cookbooks we baked from during my time with the Cake Slice Bakers.

I made one and a half times the cake batter because the original recipe only makes a thin layer of cake and I wanted one thick enough to absorb all the fruit juices. I also added some almond extract, while keeping the vanilla extract. For the topping I used brown sugar, pecans and ground nutmeg instead of white sugar and cinnamon...they recipe gave two choices for nuts and pecans were one of them.

I baked it in a nine-inch springform pan instead of a ten-inch one. Because I had such a wonderful choice of fruits, I used cherry halves around the outer edge, then peach slices, then olallieberries and raspberries in the middle.

Do watch this cake because the nuts might get too brown...just tent with foil if that happens. Because  the batter is deeper than the original, it took a while to bake, but came out moist with a nice crumb and browned crust. We actually enjoyed this cake for dinner dessert, so I served it with soy vanilla ice cream and that was a great choice. Sweetie added some whipped cream to his, and you can always add extra prepared fresh fruit.

I've never been a big fan of summer, but sitting outside for dinner because it's still warm by 7 o'clock makes summer a bit easier to take. All of the beautiful flowers that are blooming in the garden also are a benefit of summer. Too bad it gets so hot!

Do try this cake, especially if you have some ripe fruit on hand. You can use all one kind of fruit or two kinds, or three if four is too much. With most kinds of fruit, push them down into the batter a bit to allow the juices to soak into the cake. Enjoy!

Fruit Basket Cake with Nutmeg Nut Topping
based on Nectarine Cake in Lauren Chattman's Cake Keep Cakes
serves 8-10

For the Topping:
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 oz.), unsalted butter or non-dairy margarine, softened
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups assorted stone fruit and/or berries or one kind or fruit, ripe - peel plums or peaches and pit them, pit cherries, pit nectarines or apricots, wash and dry berries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the insides of a springform pan, 9-inch or 10-inch preferred.

Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg and chopped nuts in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl or on a sheet of waxed paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape bowl and beaters as needed.

With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine the eggs with the butter mixture after each addition. Scrape bowl and beaters as needed.

Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. With mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, a 1/2 cup at a time. Scrape bowl and beaters as needed and at the end. Use scraper to give batter a final stir to make sure all is combined.

Scrape batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top of the batter. Carefully place the prepared fruit, pushing down a bit into the batter. If using more than one kind of fruit, you can create a pattern.

Sprinkle with the topping. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides, unhinge the springform and cool cake on wire rack until tepid. Remove from the springform bottom and place on a serving plate.

Serve with more fruit, ice cream, whip cream or just as is.

Store uneaten cake, if any, in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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