If you're like me, summer time is your favorite time to cook because of the countless fresh ingredients available. There's something about it that just makes me want to grill and eat super-ripe fruit all day, every day. This cake is a great way to celebrate the fresh fruit of summer. It's simple, fast, and can showcase any kind of stone fruit you have. I've been getting a ton of peaches and nectarines in my CSA box and I'm having fun coming up with new things to do with it all. This cake is one of fun things I've made with the nectarines I've gotten. I adapted the recipe only slightly from a favorite blog of mine, Smitten Kitchen. There wasn't much to change as the original recipe is pretty darn good, I just found myself wanting the cake to be a bit more moist, so I added a few tablespoons of sour cream (or you could use plain yogurt). That and a big dollop of cinnamon-flavored whipped cream and the cake was perfect for a casual dinner with friends.
Brown Sugar Nectarine Cake
You can use any stone fruit you have on hand, I just wouldn't use it if it were super-ripe. That may make the cake soggy. Try different combinations of fruit and spices in the cake, like ginger in a cake with peaches or cardomom with plums.
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 tbs. butter, at room temp
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup canola or other flavorless oil
3 tbs. sour cream or plain yogurt
grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 nectarines, halved and pitted
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 inch square baking pan and set aside.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cream together until the mixture is light and fluffy, another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for a minute in between each addition. Then add the orange zest, vanilla, sour cream and oil. Mix on medium speed until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low until just mixed in. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the bottom with a spatula to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed in. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Arrange the fruit, skin side down in a 3 x 3 grid over the batter. Wiggle each nectarine just a bit to settle it into the batter. You'll have an extra half left over- a little treat for the cook!