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Friday, 21 June 2013

Raspberry and Nectarine Crumble Cake

The warm weather has made me think about cakes suitable for eating on sunny days, perhaps by the riverside, most definitely with friends.  A cake that is light and easy to handle yet tasty and filling.  I have always liked the idea of 'tray-bakes' and this recipe could be consider as an American Coffee Cake, although it does not contain any coffee.  Light vanilla scented sponge kept moist by fresh fruits and topped with a slightly crunchy crumble topping.  I have made this cake a number of times because its relatively quick, always works and tastes great with whatever fruit you decide to put in it.  I consider this a good seasonal cake, it works with a variety of fruits - apples, peaches, plums, rhubarb and pear.  

I have made this cake as a tray-bake (this recipe) but it also works perfectly in a 25cm round loose bottom tin.  I find the square tin easier to divide in to sharable portions, it is also easier to pack in to boxes to take outside.  

Making the sponge is far easier with a stand mixer but you could make it by hand.  The large amount of egg will more than likely result in a curdle, even with electric mixer, so making sure all ingredients are at room temperature and adding a spoonful of flour to the mix as you add the eggs with reduce the risk of splitting.   Even if this does happen don't worry too much, the baking powder will support the slightly reduced air from the eggs.  A good point to remember when caking making is to mix hard as you can UNTIL you add the flour, then fold in and try not to over mix.  Working the flour causes gluten to be released resulting in a heavy cake.  As soon as you add the flour in to this mixture switch to a folding action with a large spoon.  I have been known to allow the machine to fold in the flour, and this will more than likely work well, but with cake making I always try a little bit harder.

Originally I wanted to make this cake with fresh peaches, then along came the idea of adding raspberries, but when I went to my local 'fruit & veg shop' they only had nectarines.  A quick search on my iPhone confirmed what I was thinking - nectarines are from the same family as peaches and have a similar flavour, they also make an excellent sub.   This cake is perfect eaten warm from the oven with some double cream or even better served cold at a picnic.

Raspberry and Nectarine Crumble Cake

For the cake
170g plain flour
170g caster sugar
170g softened unsalted butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk

For the crumble top
110g plain flour
4 tbsp brown sugar (or caster if not)
85g cold unsalted butter

Fruit filling
3 nectarines
1 punnet of raspberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 190C (170C fan), butter and line a 23cm square tin.  As you see in the image I over-lined the tin to make removal easier later.

Remove the stones from the nectarines by scoring around the whole fruit then twisting in your hands.  Remove the stone and slice each half in to 1/4, then again in to 1/8s.  Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and vanilla, leave while you make the rest of the cake.

To make the crumble topping, pulse together the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor.  If doing by hand just rub between your fingers to bring together.  Don't over do it, you want breadcrumbs.  Set aside.


To make the cake, put the butter and sugar in to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and beat until pale - about 2 mins on high.


Slowly add in the beaten egg (to which you have added the vanilla extract), half way stop and mix in one tablespoon of flour.  Add the remaining egg while beating on high speed.

Sift in the flour and baking powder, fold the mixture carefully with a large spoon.  Fold in the milk.


Transfer the mixture to the lined tin and spread out carefully, place the nectarines on top and dot around the raspberries.  Cover with the crumble top and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.


Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin before removing the cake and placing on a rack to cool.  If you like, dust with icing sugar.

Serve warm with cream or cold later.  This cake freezes well.