Nectarine & Plum Cake with Bergamot
This recipe is excerpted from susan’s book just released in june 2005:
not just desserts-sweet herbal recipes
This is not your typical peach cake with fruit slices arranged on the top. Although the fruit is placed on top of the batter, the batter is so light; the fruit has a tendency to fall. Some of the fruit stays on top and some sinks to the bottom–this results in a very moist cake with fruit and herbs throughout.
All nectarines or all plums can be used to make the cake but I like the combination of the two fruits together. If you don’t have bergamot leaves, use the same amount of orange mint, or any of the lemon herb leaves for an equally delicious flavor.
Makes a 9 x 13-inch cake
fruit 3 medium-sized ripe nectarines 3 large, ripe but firm, plums 1/4 cup sugar 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice 3 3-inch sprigs bergamot or orange mint
Peel the nectarines and plums. Slice the nectarines into twelfths and the plums into eighths and put them in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the fruit slices with the sugar and lemon juice and toss with the herb leaves, bruising the leaves against the side of the bowl to release their essence. Let the fruit and herbs macerate, stirring occasionally, while preparing the cake batter.
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 extra large eggs
2 extra large egg yolks
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
About 20 bergamot or orange mint leaves (1/4 cup loosely packed herb leaves cut into chiffonade)
Butter and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan and preheat the oven to 375° F. Melt the butter over low heat and set aside to cool.
Beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar until the mixture becomes pale yellow and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes.
Sift the flour with the salt. Gently fold the flour, one-third at a time, into the egg mixture. Carefully fold the melted butter, one-third at a time, into the batter. When the batter is thoroughly blended, fold in the lemon zest.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly, and strew the herbs over the batter. Arrange the fruit slices on top (the leftover nectar is for the cook to sip).
Bake for 40 minutes until pale golden brown, the cake pulls slightly away from the pan, or a tester comes out clean. Do not overcook. Cool the cake in the pan on a baking rack. The cake can be cut into squares and served from the pan, or the cake can be turned out onto a baking rack, inverted, and served from a platter. Serve alone, or accompanied by fresh whipped cream, garnished with bergamot flowers and leaves.
© Susan Belsinger