We’ve run across many variations of Nigel Slater’s recipe for “midsummer cake,” and have used it many times with all sorts of fresh fruits. In Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard (that’s Tender: Vol. II to you Brits), the cake appears with apricots and raspberries. In a 2010 article, Slater employed peaches, blueberries and orange zest. We’ve done those, as well as our own delicious variation with Concord grapes during their ever so short season. The cake is incredibly easy to put together and is light, buttery and full of lovely almond flavor.We’re bringing tons of peaches home from the markets these days and Michelle was thrilled to see a peach, rosemary, pine nut and honey version teased in Slater’s Twitter feed. A couple of days later, there it was in the U.S. online edition of The Guardian (scroll down), and she couldn’t wait to try it.
In the first version Michelle used the self-rising version of White Lily Flour, which is very soft and delicate. It rose light and fluffy, which may be why the peaches sank to the bottom. On the second attempt, she used the higher in protein King Arthur all-purpose flour, with the small amount (3/4 teaspoon) of baking powder called for in the recipe. The latter cake turned out a bit more dense, quite possibly helping the peaches stay attractively on top.
PEACH, ROSEMARY, PINE NUT AND HONEY CAKE
(adapted from Nigel Slater via The Guardian)
Preheat oven to 350° F with a rack in the middle. Butter an 8″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- 3 small or 2 large ripe peaches
- 2 TB honey
Drop peaches in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and cool, then pull off peel. Halve peaches, remove the stones and cut into thin slices.
Line a pie pan with foil. Arrange peach slices in a single layer in pan. Drizzle honey over. Place under broiler until the edges of peaches start to caramelize. If some start to get too brown, turn them over.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- 80 grams almond flour (or grind some almonds yourself)
- 100 grams all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 180 grams soft butter
- 180 grams granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
Mix the almonds, flour and baking powder in a bowl, breaking up any clumps. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla.
Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a stand mixer until fluffy. At low speed, alternately add the dry and wet ingredients, cleaning the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Randomly place the peaches on top of the cake (leaving the juice in the pan behind).
- 1 TB roughly chopped rosemary leaves
- 2 TB pine nuts
Sprinkle rosemary and pine nuts over top of peaches.
Bake until cake is “lightly firm and golden” and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. The recipe said it would take 45 minutes. Ours took more like an hour the first time we made it and an hour and 15 minutes the second time.
- 2 TB honey
Remove cake from oven and place on a cooling rack. Run a knife around the edge and remove sides of springform. Drizzle 2 tablespoons or so of honey over and let cool.