Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer Cake

Summertime baking probably evokes a range of memories for most of you. Something along the lines of staying away from the oven in 40 degree weather (Celsius, clearly, not Fahrenheit) and opting for fresh berries and whipped cream, or icebox cakes.

I, on the other hand, would rather stick my head in the oven during the Summer just to pretend it actually gets warm in Paris. You know, just crank it up to a nice warm and fuzzy temperature, grab a mojito, and delight in the fact that I can wear a tank top and skirt without regretting it later on when I start sneezing all over the place.

As you can see, summertime baking probably isn't the same for you and me. In my case, it's all about pretending that it's warm, so we should be indulging in some super-light desserts because you just can't eat a layer cake in this heat. But deep down, I really do need to turn that oven on, just to feel a little better. Enter the benefits of imagination, which allow you to look at the ingredients at your disposal and conjure up a recipe that's perfect for fake Summer weather.

You wanted healthy, well, here's a healthy dose of it. Not so healthy that you'll be left unsatisfied, however: this is an easy cake that blends fruit, whole wheat flour, but doesn't forget that sugar makes the heart grow fonder. (I think I may have gotten that one wrong--but can't you always replace words like 'absence' with 'sugar'?) It just might be enough to make you forget about the sad weather and pretend like you're actually alright with this whole wearing-a-sweater deal.

Nectarine Buttermilk Cake
serves 8

1 1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 TB baking powder
1/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
pinch mahaleb powder (from a cherry tree, the powder itself has a bitter almond flavor)
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
2 TB butter, melted and cooled
a few drops almond extract

1 thinly sliced nectarine
turbinado sugar (or other coarse sugar)
slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.

In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg, buttermilk, butter and almond extract. Gently incorporate dry ingredients until combined. Pour into a medium cake pan or pie plate.

Add nectarine on top as well as sugar and slivered almonds.

Bake approximately 25 minutes until golden. Cool completely before slicing.
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Mercotte said...

Aie avec des nectarines, ça doit être à tomber ! moelleux à souhait, j'ai déjà l'impression de l'avoir en bouche !

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

What delicious ingredients! No wonder your cake looks yummy. I can see this cake being eaten on a picnic in Paris..*sigh*

Reeni said...

Nectarines scream of summer! I love the way the top looks - so pretty. I never heard of mahaleb powder! I'm intrigued.

Barbara said...

This looks lovely, Lucie. It's pretty hot here year round, so I don't pay any attention to turning off the oven.
Doubt I can find mahaleb powder...perhaps increase the almond extract a bit?

grace said...

the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, or so they say. :)
tasty cake, lucie. it's a looker, too.

Anonymous said...

I love cakes that present their fruit beautifully arranged on top. :) Summer is overrated sometimes, especially when it gets too hot to bake!