Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Nectarine Coffee Cake

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.

Any ideas?

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.


Lis said...

I have never seen a nectarine used in baking. This is why I love these blogs so much - I learn something new every day! I want this cake immediately as I love nectarines so much. I'm not exactly sure if this would help in the batter but what about the addition of sour cream? Maybe that'd help with the dry problem?

And yeah no, you didn't mention the party - although I do look forward to hearing about it afterwards! Look at it this way.. all the extra boxes laying around will provide much needed seating! :D

Rachel said...

Add some buttermilk! 1/2 cup or so.

Anonymous said...

Buttermilk and sour cream have already been mentioned... I was going to say maybe some yogurt? I use fat-free vanilla yogurt in some cinnamon rolls I make and they're very moist.

Acme Instant Food said...

I'd try adding a bit of applesauce. As to how much...that's a good question.

Acme Instant Food said...

Regardless...the recipe sounds like it has possibilities and you are just the person to discover them!

Laura Rebecca said...

Thanks for the tips, guys! (Or, since my in-laws from Texas are flying in today, "Thanks for the tips, y'all!")