Sunday, September 23, 2012

In Transit: Spiced Nectarine Cake

 Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall.  F. Scott Fitzgerald

Happy second day of Fall everyone!  I hope wherever you are life is treating you very, very good.  This transitional time of year is one of the prettiest - when the leaves are turning amber and the light is warm and the subtle breeze of change is all around us.  Usually I'm a little maudlin right around now - having to put the garden to bed will do that to a girl -  but not this year.  Frankly I'm happy to see another season, ripe with new beginnings and adventures.  And how much do I love shopping for boots and sweaters and dark red lip gloss?  I'm happy to pack away the strappy sandals and sundresses for another year.  Bring on tea and snuggles under blankets and a brand new TV shows.  The beauty of the season is so short lived here - blink and the next minute it's gone.  The next few weeks are a treasure.

There's still lots of delicious fruit at the market, and I'm eating it like crazy - pears, Concord grapes and lovely lovely nectarines.  Being on the Food Basket Challenge last week, I wasn't eating any fruit, so now I'm totally making up for it.  I was a little over zealous with my nectarine purchasing and decided to bake a cake, because I think of cake pretty much every day.  Doesn't everyone?  So a little research turned up a lovely buttery batter cake, all spiced up and simple to prepare.  My kinda cake.  So let's go!  Nectarines - grab a few, a slice them up. 

Prepare batter, that's easy, and arrange the nectarines on top.

A little sprinkling of spiced up sugar and bake away, until golden and oh-so-gorgeous.  Love the colours on this cake!

Slice into wedges and dust with icing sugar.  That's the only dressing up this cake needs. My only complaint I have is the pan I baked it in - the dark springform bakes so much faster than other pans, hence the bottom got a little burnt dark on the cake.  Still lovely all around, but if your springform is dark, just cut back the baking time for 5-7 minutes.  I'm considering buying one of aluminum, just so I don't have this problem again.  First world baking problems, I know.

Speaking of being in transit - I will be tomorrow when leave for Washington State (including a couple of days in Seattle!) as part of a group of 6 Canadian food writers who will tour organic orchards and visit fruit processing facilities and get a lesson in fruit preserving. Plus I'm pretty sure we'll eat some amazing food. Special thanks to the Organic Trade Commission; Pear Bureau Northwest/USA Pears; Washington State Apple Commission; and Washington Fruit Commission/ NW Cherry Growers for inviting me to tag along. I have a feeling this will be an unforgettable experience.  If you have any tips for places to see while I'm in Seattle - let me know!  I think our schedule is pretty jam packed, but there will likely be time for a little sightseeing.  I'm so excited about seeing this part of America and can't wait to tell you all about it when I get back!  Happy Fall everyone!  

Spiced Nectarine Cake

1/2 cup butter, unsalted, room temp
3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups self raising flour (to make:  2 cups all purpose flour + 2 tsp baking powder + 1 tsp salt)  You will have a little leftover, but just use 1 1/4 cups of this mixture.   

3 ripe, medium nectarines, cut in half, then each half cut into 4 slices
1 tsp cinnamon,
1/2 tsp each nutmeg and ginger

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Generously butter a 9 inch springform pan.  In a mixer, beat butter until fluffy.  Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat until blended.  Beat in eggs one at a time then the lemon juice, zest and almond extract.  Beat in flour until smooth.  Spread batter evenly in pan.  Arrange nectarine slices on top, in concentric circles, pressing a little to adhere.  Mix the 3 tbsp sugar with spices and sprinkle on top.  Bake until golden, about 40-45 minutes.  If your springform is dark, check it at 40 minutes, or even 35.  Cut around cake to loosen and remove pan sides.  Serve warm or room temp and dust with icing sugar.  Serves 6-8.  Adapted from Epicurious.  


  1. Looks lovely Renee! Enjoy your trip to Washington - I hear Seattle is gorgeous.

  2. Gorgeous cake! Sounds like a fun trip- take lots of pics to share. We were in Seattle around this time last year and it was gorgeous!

  3. This cake looks so delicious! I can't believe I didn't get to bake anything with nectarines yet.

  4. You've just reminded me how much I love baking with stone fruit - it's so satisfying. You get such intense gorgeous colors and flavors. And it's so easy. I'm off to the kitchen...

  5. Beautiful looking cake! And a really good transition food, it seems a little bit fall and a little bit summer. Great that you're coming to Seattle! It will be a lovely week here, highs of 8-10 C and mostly sunny. We're having a great fall. I guess if you're here for only a day or so without much time, do go to Pike Place Market. The produce and flowers will blow you away. If you like Southwest food and you have time, try out Cactus (either Madison Park or West Seattle). They have a fantastic Mexican lemonade with jalapenos and cilantro. Can't wait to read about your trip!

  6. Renee, These photos are so breathtaking. I always enjoy your photography, but somehow the simple beauty of these is just blowing me away.
    Have a wonderful trip to Seattle. Eat lots of salmon - it doesn't get any better;)

  7. This is absolutely my favorite time of year. Hooray for boots and sweaters and snuggles! Your cake looks delicious, and I'll keep my eyes peeled for the last of the nectarines at this week's farmer's market. Have fun on your trip!

  8. My goodness! I am not sure what is more beautiful - your cake (most likely) or the board you have photographed it on. (I WANT)
    Gorgeous, yummy and perfect fall pleaser!

  9. So pretty! nectarines and peaches make such good cakes, muffins and tarts. I'm disappointed that the BC and Ontario tree fruit associations weren't a little more on the ball with bringing Canadian bloggers on board. Seems a missed opportunity on their part. Maybe next year.

  10. Thank you everyone so much! I had the best time in Washington and already want to go back. Pike Place did blow me away with it's fresh beautiful produce and flowers and apple fritters as big as my head. Loved every minute :)

  11. Beautiful Cake, I love the arrival of Autumn, it's such a pretty time of year. This cake suits its perfectly.


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