so i kind of missed the first blogiversary. and even this one doesn’t truly feel like a second blogiversary, because it’s only been a little over the year since i got more serious about this blog (did you know that i recently told people in my real life about this place? i expected this to be more secret and chill, kind of like a blogging speakeasy).
this is not a typical “whee, celebration,” type of cake. it’s a fruit cake, if you think about it. i never liked being mainstream, anyways.
oh, crap. i read “vanilla seeds and pulp” as “vanilla seeds and nectarine pulp/puree.” so i didn’t make caramel first, and i made caramelized nectarine puree that got cooked down for half an hour because i was trying to get rid of the excess water. this, among other things, prompted the change from “creme fraiche plum cake with plum caramel” to “caramelized nectarine cake.” i also had to spread the batter with wet fingers instead of a spatula; it was that kind of a baking day. make sure you’re very happy with where the fruit is on top, because that’s where it’s gonna stay. and when you go to do your toothpick test, dw if the area around the fruit is a little mushy; it’s from the fruit juices.
this caramelized nectarine cake was incredibly tender and moist (i should hope so with all that butter), though the edges did get a little hard. top was beautifully crunchy, even if i think it would have benefited from a streusel or crumble or something. liked the nectarines, but wanted more of it to come through; that’s where the nectarine puree/caramel comes in. make this only if you 1) have a ton of nectarines you need to use, 2) are okay with the fat content within this cake, and 3) enjoy baking enough that the time spent is worth it.
Caramelized Nectarine Cake
adapted from Suzanne Goin’s The AOC Cookbook
3/4 lb ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into small wedges (plums, figs, etc also work)
1 T lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Purée the nectarines and lemon juice until smooth and liquidy. If you are using ripe, juicy nectarines, you won’t need to add any more liquid to make the purée pourable.
- Scrape the vanilla seeds and pulp into a medium saucepan. Add the pod, sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring. Cook for about 10 minutes, swirling occasionally, until the mixture is a deep amber color. Slowly add the nectarine purée, whisking constantly. Cook until any sugar that has seized is dissolved. Cool.
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups all-purpose, 3/4 cup white whole wheat)
2/3 – 1 cup granulated sugar (I cut the original 1 cup down to 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup semolina flour (I used almond meal instead)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup crème fraîche (I used Greek yogurt instead), room temperature
6 egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 lb ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into 3/4“ wedges (might seem like a lot, but use it all!)
- Combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter and 1/2 cup yogurt; mix until the mixture starts to come together but is still crumbly. Add the yolks and remaining yogurt, then mix until the color lightens to a pale yellow. Don’t worry if it seems elasticky and weird; roll with it.
- Spread half the batter into a greased and parchment lined (please do) 9” round springform pan. Drizzle 1/3 cup caramel over the batter, then arrange half the nectarines on top.
- Dot the remaining half of the batter on top, then gently spread it to cover the nectarines. Arrange the rest of the nectarines on top, then sprinkle lightly with (I used raw) sugar.
- Put the cake in the oven with a sheet tray on the rack underneath (I didn’t need a pan; the cake didn’t drip). Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, then at 350F for 30 more minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 30 minutes before unmolding.
- Serve the cake drizzled with additional caramel.