Simple seasonal cake, and cheating “room temperature” ingredients
Sometimes the simplest cakes, made with careful love and attention to detail, work best. The base for this cake was adapted from Will’s Gran’s beloved coffee cake recipe, which I’ve used several times now and am just in love with. It’s fluffy and soft, but deeply fragrant of buttery richness, with the fruit keeping it moist for a few days after. I used plums and blueberries, but pears in winter would be lovely for example, or apples in autumn. Admittedly blueberry season has passed, but I had 2 kilos (yes, you read that correctly) carefully squirreled in my freezer after a gorgeous morning of blueberry picking.
I’m even more keen on buttery cakes like this now that I’ve figured out a few sneaky ways around the “room temperature” ingredients rule, without butter splattering your microwave. I basically pop some chopped butter in the oven for 5-7 minutes while it’s preheating, so it’s half melted. Then I beat in the sugar and the cold eggs from the fridge one at a time, which kind of brings the butter back to a slightly firmer temperature, to help incorporate plenty of air. Then I don’t have to worry about melting the butter entirely either. Voila!
Simple seasonal bounty cake
makes one 9″ cake
- 2 handfuls of fruit, chopped to bite size
- 120g butter, cut into cubes (if using unsalted, add a pinch salt)
- 120g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 145g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Chop fruit and set aside. Preheat oven to 175C (350F), arranging a rack in the middle of your oven. Grease your baking tin with plenty of butter (I brush some of the melted butter into the tin), then dust it with flour.
If you have fridge-temp butter and eggs, leave your mixing bowl with the butter in the oven for the first 5-7 minutes until it’s half melted (don’t panic if you end up going too far). Beat (on high speed) in the sugar and one cold egg (or room temperature egg if your butter is softened butter) until fully incorporated and paled. Beat in second egg and vanilla. Sift over flour and baking powder and fold through (low speed) until just barely incorporated – if there is a fleck or two of flour, that’s fine. Scrape into cake pan, pop fruit on top (scattering is fine – no need to carefully place because it all sinks in anyway), and bake for about 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 150C (300F) and continue baking until centre also takes on a golden brown colour and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (around another 15 -20 mins).
Cool to room temperature before inverting onto a plate. Super yummy with 100% natural yogurt, diluted with a little milk if it’s the super tart stuff.
If storing, bring back to warm room temperature before serving for maximum deliciousness.