With life intervening a bit, I was unable to bake and photograph this week’s recipe on time. I ended up baking on Wednesday and writing on Friday. Hopefully, that’s not going too rogue for the group :P. You can see plenty more bakers’ cakes who were prompt [and a few who were late like me] here. As always, the full recipe is available on the blogs of this week’s hosts, Marlise of The Double Trouble Kitchen, and Susan of The Little French Bakery.
This recipe is the second to feature nectarines in as many months. The first was Leslie Mackie’s Blueberry-Nectarine pie, which was a real winner, due in no small part to the choice fruit I was able to find. I tried likewise for this cake, buying some ripe fruit at Whole Foods last Friday with a gift card from my sister-in-law. That may have been perfect had I made the cake in Marin on Saturday. Alas I was driving on Sunday and by the time I could start the cake in Long Beach, my fruit has started to rot. I had to replace it with this somewhat sad fruit from the local Ralphs. In fact my desire to let these nectarines ripen led me to delay the baking cake.
I also had to substitute equipment as I do not have a 10″x3″ springform pan. I briefly (very briefly) considered buying a 10″ pan, but balked when I learned I’d have to buy a set. Instead I settled on a 7″ springform and an 8″x3″ removable bottom cake pan. Together they would have about the same volume as a 10″ spring form; I’d get two cakes instead of one. So I experimented a little, using all dark brown sugar for the 7″ pan, and a mix of light and dark in the 8″. I likewise used a mix of dark and light in the streusel, though made only one version.
Whether by design or accident, I ended up using a bit less butter and sugar on the smaller 7″ cake, and probably proportionately a bit less streusel as well. With both cakes layered and smoothed, the went into the oven. Both cakes browned very quickly, so much so that I reduced the oven temperature considerable after only 20 minutes or so. I expected a baking time of around 40 minutes total given the cakes’ smaller sizes.
When removed from the oven each cake had risen to the top of their pans. After 10 minutes cooling, both began to fall. As seen below the 7-inch cake was a little more photogenic, owing both to a neater arrangement of fruit and less fruit/butter/sugar syrup on the plate.
In terms of taste, the cakes were similar. Both were very sweet; too sweet even. There also wasn’t much of a difference between the cake made with all-dark brown sugar. The cakes were also somewhat mushy on upper half next to the fruit. This seemed to affect the 8″ cake more so than the 7″. Partly I would attribute that to the extra butter and sugar; the nectarines also played a part. Substituting a drier fruit like apples or bananas would probably lessen the mush. Were I to go with a “wet” fruit again, I would give the cake two trips to the oven. The first time I’d omit the second half of the batter, allowing that layer a chance to bake up/ dry out a bit more before adding the remaining batter.
All in all this cake was decent, just not enough so that I’d revisit it anytime soon. When nectarine seasons rolls around next summer, I’ll return to the Blueberry-Nectarine pie instead. In that respect, I guess I’m like our president, I’ll take a good pie over cake almost any day.