photos by me.
I apologize for the lack of posting on my end. Since Alice was out-of-town for eight days, I was left alone with my cheap digital camera and not-so-impressive food photography skills. I did, however, manage to take a few shots of this special little cake, which I will share with you this morning.
While at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago (I know I mention going there way too much, but it's really where I discover and purchase the majority of my fresh produce), I noticed bushels of these rather small red juicy grapes that tasted so sweet and delicious, I just had to buy a huge bag of them. The only problem with that was that with me being the only one in our house who really eats grapes, it was hard to get through them quickly before they started getting squishier and less-than-perfect. So I thought, why not bake something with them? I admit I had never baked anything using grapes before in my life (other than concord grape pie, I have really never heard much of grape desserts), but I came across a recipe targeted to winemakers for a cake made with whatever clusters of grapes you come across. The perfect solution to a container of extra local grapes? I think so.
Winemaker's Grape Cake: from Patricia Wells at Home in Provence
Butter and flour for preparing the cake pan
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of sea salt
Grated zest (yellow peel) of 1 lemon
Grated zest (orange peel) of 1 orange (I left this out and it still tasted quite citrusy)
10 ounces small, fresh purple grapes
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a springform pan, tapping out any excess flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes. Add the butter, oil, milk, and vanilla extract, and mix until blended.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the lemon zest and orange zest, and toss to coat the zest with flour. Spoon the mixture into the bowl of batter and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquids.
Stir about 3/4 of the grapes into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
Place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the top of the cake with remaining grapes. Bake until the top is a deep golden brown and the cake feels quite firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 40 minutes more, for a total baking time of 55 minutes. Remove to rack to cool. After 10 minutes, run a knife along the sides of the pan. Release and remove the side of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the pan base. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Serve at room temperature, cut into thin wedges.