I have a problem with this recipe. It's a shame too, because there are so many great things going for it.
The flavor is great. There's a lovely tang from the lemon juice and zest, providing a nice contrast to the cinnamon sugar-dusted, in-season nectarines. It's dead easy to whip up and the recipe seems adaptable -- I'd like to try substituting the lemon flavors for almond, and topping the cake with some berries.
But here's the sticking point: the cake is too dry. Take-a-bite-and-then-reach-for-a-cup-of-coffee-out-of-sheer-necessity kind of dry. It's moist around the areas where the nectarines are nestled but beneanth that -- dry. Maybe this could be solved, in part, by really pushing the nectarines into the batter. But there would still be dry pockets.
Nectarine Coffee Cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
5 medium nectarines (about 1 3/4 pounds), halved, each half cut into 4 slices (Note: I was only able to fit about 2.5 nectarines, which jibes with the comments here --LR)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Generously butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Using electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then lemon juice and lemon peel. Beat in flour until smooth. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Arrange enough nectarine slices atop batter in concentric circles to cover completely; press lightly to adhere. Mix cinnamon and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle over cake.
Bake until cake is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cut around cake to loosen; remove pan sides. Serve cake slightly warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.
Grade: B until the dry problem is solved.