The perfect late summer cake

September 8, 2012


This one’s from Nigel Slater who knows a thing or two about good cake. A delicious, almond sponge moistened with peaches and spiked with blueberries. As you’d expect, nectarines work perfectly well if peaches aren’t around and if you can’t get hold of blueberries, I’d wager raspberries work a treat. It’s that kind of cake. One thing though, this is definitely one of those cakes that tastes better the second day. Think of it as character building…..

Nigel Slater’s blueberry and peach cake

You’ll need:

175gr butter

175gr golden caster sugar

200gr ripe peaches or nectarines

2 large eggs

175g self-raising flour

100g ground almonds

1 tsp grated orange zest

a few drops of vanilla extract

150g blueberries

Nigel uses a lined loose-bottomed 20 cm cake tin but I take the easier way out with a greased silicone mould. Dunnes have them for about a fiver. Set the oven to 170C/gas mark 4 and get on with things.

Halve, stone and roughly chop the peaches or nectarines and set aside. Wash and sort through the blueberries removing any remaining stalks.

Cake Ingredients

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.  Add one of the eggs and continue beating then add a tablespoon of flour. Beat in the second egg.  Mix the flour and almonds together then add to the mixture in 2 or 3 different lots then finally beat in the orange zest and vanilla. Stir in the chopped peaches and blueberries and a splash of milk (Nigel doesn’t do this but I find it helps to moisten things).

Cake Mix

Scrape the mixture into the cake tin then bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Test with a skewer or sharp knife – if it comes out relatively clean, then the cake is done. Leave the cake to cool for about 10 minutes in the tin then loosen the edges with  a palette knife and turn it onto  a plate. I decorated with blueberries and icing sugar but it’s up to you.

A blob of mascarpone or Greek yogurt is delicious on the side if you want to serve this for dessert but really it’s an afternoon tea kind of cake. But don’t let that put you off – 11pm  is still technically after noon 😉

Enjoy x

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This week I have sprigs of elderflower from Denis Healy’s farm. To use them will require a bit of work – they are served fried in batter as fritters which is probably the last thing you feel like doing in this warm weather but they are just so special (and in season now) that I thought it would be a shame not to do something with them…. As with all batters, lightness is the key. You get this by introducing as much air as possible into the mix – self-raising flour, sparkling water and eggs whites beaten til they form snowy peaks then folded in all do this. This isn’t a dish you can prepare ahead of time so have the batter ingredients ready to go but not mixed as the air starts to leech out almost as soon as the batter is made. Eat your fritters straight up with maybe just a little honey or icing sugar. If you want to feed more try serving them with some summer fruit. I thought that the  nectarines I got this week would be perfect but they aren’t quite ready to eat yet and your elderflowers won’t last past today. Try a perfectly ripe peach sliced with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream instead……..

Elderflower Fritters

You’ll need:

A handful of elderflower sprigs

The batter

100gr self-raising flour

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon grappa (if you have it)

1 egg

1 tiny pinch salt

85 ml Water (approx)

Begin by separating the egg then mix the yolk with the flour, oil, grappa and salt. Add enough water to form a thick but not too liquid batter. You want the consistency of heavy cream. Begin heating a couple of inches of vegetable oil in a pan. Beat the egg white until stiff and fold it into the batter. When the oil is hot enough (test it by dropping a little batter in. If it turns golden over about 20 seconds it’s good to go. Any faster and your fritters will burn, any slower and things will turn mushy). Fry your fritters until golden and eat immediately.

There’s cima di rape in all the Home Organics selections this week and like the elderflowers they were picked on Denis Healy’s farm first thing this morning. Cut off the tough stalks, stir fry with garlic and dress with a little sherry or red wine vinegar for a great side dish or try that salad I made with chorizo and pine nuts I made a few weeks back. Follow this link for the recipe http://wp.me/p7YZu-gF

This week’s nectarines, as I mentioned above, are a little hard but should be amazing. Leave them in your fruit bowl for a few days to fully ripen them then eat as is or barbecued (if the weather holds!!!).As you’ve probably noticed our carrots are the new season baby bunched kind which will need nothing more than a quick steam and a drizzle of your nicest olive oil…

Have a great weekend,

Sarah