- 1 1/2 cups organic plain white flour (1 cup = 250 ml)
- 1/2 cup unrefined golden caster sugar (or use demerara)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- zest of one medium lemon
Whisk the first four ingredients well in a bowl, add the lemon zest and stir it in. Set aside. Sometimes I add the zest to the wet ingredients, other times I like the flour to get infused with the citrus aroma before making the batter.
- 1 cup soy milk (or coconut milk)
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour the soy milk in a bowl, add the lemon juice, give it a stir and set aside. It will curdle a bit.
Prepare a 22 cm (8.7") cake pan by lightly coating it with oil (you can also make the cake in an iron skillet, see Susan's instructions for that). This will also prevent the fruit from sticking to the pan when inverting the cake.
Wash and pat dry 3 large nectarines that are ripe but still a little firm to the touch. Cut them in half around the pit and twist the halves in opposite directions until one of them comes off. Remove the pit from the other half and cut each half in 4. Place the nectarine slices in a bowl, sprinkle them with 1 Tb caster sugar and give them a toss. Set aside. You could also use 4 small nectarines to create an even more beautiful arrangement, as below.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- 1/3 cup unrefined golden caster sugar
- 2 Tb water
You can make the caramel directly in the pan if it is high heat-resistant (such as an iron skillet) or use a small stainless steel or enamel saucepan and pour the caramel into the cake pan when done. Add the sugar and water to your saucepan and place on the smallest burner of your stovetop turned to medium. After the sugar is completely melted keep an eye on the liquid as it will soon start to change colour (you may need to reduce the heat to low). This is a small amount so I never stir it, just move the pan around so the caramel gets a uniform colour. When it reaches a nice amber colour pour it into the prepared pan. Arrange the fruit on top in the desired pattern.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until well combined. Spoon the batter over the fruit slices, covering the spaces between them first.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, by which time the cake should be properly done with a few tiny brown spots on top and caramel juice bubbling around the sides.
Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes (it will pull away from the sides), then place a large serving plate on top and carefully invert the cake onto the plate. Sometimes the caramel thickens in some parts and keeps the cake stuck to the pan, so for extra safety run a knife around the sides before inverting it.
Having large, thick nectarine slices in this cake was great, there was more caramelized juice dripping over the sides than usual which I collected with a teaspoon and poured over the cake as it cooled to give it a glossy finish.
Allow the cake to come to room temperature, slice and serve.
Many such recipes recommend serving the cake with a scoop of ice cream. I haven't tried the combination yet, but I'd love to see how it tastes with vanilla coconut ice cream.
If you're not fond of using unpeeled nectarines in this cake, you can always blanch them. I find that time-consuming. If I must have peeled nectarines (or peaches) in a cake or tart I choose some that are quite firm and run the blunt side of a knife's blade over the fruit from top to bottom, going around the fruit and applying a little force to loosen the skin. It then comes off easily. This method doesn't work well with very ripe and soft fruit.
Enjoy and spread the magic!:)
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