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Nectarine Golden Cake

Nectarine Cake slice

I like to always have a cake around.

It’s so nice to have a not-too-sweet, everyday cake stashed in the pantry, perfect for afternoon cake and coffee, or for breakfast, or for a not-too-decadent dessert.  And a slice or two is great for feeding a couple of friends who happen to drop by.  I love how you can mix up the batter for one of these simple cakes in just a few minutes, slide it into the oven, and tadaa!  Magic happens.  On a lazy Saturday afternoon, I love to bake a cake.

Stone fruits are coming into season, and when baked into a humble everyday cake, their sugars caramelize, their juices make them deliciously soft and (for lack of a better word) plummy, their acidity mellows and melts on your tongue, and they are just…mmm!

Nectarine Cake pan

This cake takes nectarines, smoothing out their slightly sharp sweetness, and turning them into a treat the sorts of which you can rarely find  in a commercial bakery.  It’s just too humble, too uncomplicated, too special to come out of anywhere but your own kitchen.  It evokes sunny afternoons on the patio sipping ice tea and talking about nothing in particular.  It is truly, a golden cake.

You can make this entire cake by hand, with a good whisk, if your butter is adequately softened.  No need to get out an electric mixer – do it the old-fashioned way.  It’s more satisfying that way.

Nectarine Golden Cake
Gourmet Sept 2009

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
generous 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 almond extract
2 nectarines, pitted and sliced into wedges
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar by mixing vigorously with a whisk, until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla and almond extracts. Gently mix in the flour mixture to form a stiff yellow batter.

Spread the batter into a buttered cake pan (I used an 8-inch). Scatter the nectarine wedges over top. Bake for 40-50 minutes until top is golden brown and a knife inserted into cake comes out pretty much clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around edges, then invert and re-invert onto a plate. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired, cut into wedges and serve.

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