We were about to go away for a couple of weeks and had a dilemma: more eggs than we could eat, some hard nectarines in the fruit bowl which just would not soften, and the first of our own apricots picked too soon and also hard. The answer: you guess it… make a cake! Given its provenance, this is now known in our house as the Fruit Bowl Cake.
Nectarines and apricots
3 large eggs [or 4 of Pablo’s]
75g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
50g shelled walnuts or almonds, chopped roughly Set the oven at 180°C. Grease and line a square 20cm cake tin, about 6cm deep, with parchment paper.First prepare the fruit. With a small sharp knife, remove the skin from the nectarines and apricots. Then carefully slice the flesh from the stone. Cut into even-sized chunks. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, I always mix my cakes by hand as it seems easier. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat gently, then add bit by bit to the butter mixture. Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, stirring to mix, fold them gently into the butter mixture. Fold in the ground almonds, then the nuts.
Scrape the mixture into the cake tin, give the tin a firm tap on the counter to help the mixture settle and get rid of air bubbles. Place the pieces of nectarine and apricot evenly into the cake mixture, alternating the type of fruit to alternate the flavour. They will sink during cooking so don’t worry about making a pretty pattern. Bake for 40-45 minutes, test with a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean the cake is done. Remove the cake from the oven and set the tin on a cooling rack. Once the cake is cold, remove from the tin and peel off the paper. As it contains fruit, this cake is best kept in the fridge in a plastic box. It also freezes well. As a whole cake is too much for us, I either cut it in half and freeze, or cut into slices and freeze two at a time.
To wrap for freezing, I first wrap it in a large sheet of greaseproof paper. Then a layer of foil. Finally I put it into a freezer bag, suck out the air with a straw, and tie with a freezer tie. Wrapped securely like this, and without air in the bag, the cake keeps exceptionally well in the freezer and when defrosted tastes like fresh. Imagine… nectarine and apricot cake, in the middle of winter!
5 to remember
envolver – to wrap
en capas – in layers
una bolsa de congelar – a freezer bag
una pajita – a straw [drinking]
congelar – to freeze
‘The Kitchen Diaries’ by Nigel Slater