We’ve been seeing the best nectarines and blackberries at the farmers market the last few weeks. We stumbled on giant trays of the most beautifully ripe blackberries from K&J Orchards a few weeks ago. We tried one and it was amazing–you can tell they are at their peak. Boonie, who runs K&J, sent us home with a basket of blackberries and a few white nectarines and we decided to bake the nectarines into perfect summer cake.
Clayton’s mom gave us this fruit cookbook from Nigel Slater that we get a lot of inspiration from in the summer months. The chapters are organized by fruit, so it’s easy to skim through for ideas based on what you have on hand. The recipes are usually really simple, even for someone with little cooking experience. If you’re looking for ways to eat more fruits and vegetables, we highly recommend this book and it’s vegetable counterpart.
We’ve mentioned before that we don’t have a stand mixer, so when it comes to baking, we’re always happy to find recipes that don’t require one (or modify recipes that do). This cake can pretty much be made in one bowl and takes less than 15 minutes to prep. We used small springform pans (perfect size here, you’ll need two) since this isn’t a typical layer cake you would frost. It’s more of a cake you’d serve at tea or at brunch in a garden.
We have cooking cakes without a mixer down to a science. Leave your butter and eggs out to come to room temperature for as long as possible, preferably overnight. The butter will be soft enough to easily combine with sugar with a stiff whisk in a large mixing bowl. Next add the eggs (best to crack into a small bowl first to make sure you don’t get any shell fragments). Finish by adding the dry ingredients. Note that the recipe that inspired this cake calls for self-rising flour. Clayton’s aunt is from Scotland, and we have several recipes from her that use self-rising flour. You do not need to ever buy self-rising flour. Just add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt per cup of all-purpose flour.
To serve your beautiful summer cake, dust with powdered sugar through a fine mesh strainer (we used this one) and garnish with blackberries. Serve on a beautiful cake platter (this, this, and this come to mind). For more blackberry-inspired recipes, check out these tarts (just substitute fresh blackberries for blueberries), this cocktail, and this gelato (this cake would be delicious with a scoop!).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Trace the bottom of a springform pan on a two sheets of parchment paper. Cut it out to line the bottom of the springform pan so the cake will release easily.
- Leave the butter out to warm to room temperature. The longer you can leave it to come to room temperature, the better (preferably overnight).
- Combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Crack two eggs into a separate bowl to make sure there is nothing wrong with them, then add them to the mixing bowl and whisk in until just combined.
- Add flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl and stir until smooth. Mix in the milk and nectarines.
- Divide the batter between two springform pans lined with parchment paper, then bake about an hour (this may vary slightly depending on your oven and the size of the pan). Remove from the oven when a toothpick comes out clean.
- When the cakes are cooled, unmold from the springform pans and sprinkle with powdered sugar immediately before serving. Serve with fresh blackberries.