From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I want to wish all of you who have loved and nurtured children a happy Mother's Day. I hope that those you are tending and those you have given wings will make this a special day for you. I'll be away from my own kitchen this week, but I'll be cooking and, hopefully, will be able to share some very simple recipes with you. The first of them is for a grape cake that was created by Patricia Wells. As you know, I'm partial to this type of cake, and if it is made with olive oil, I become positively weak-kneed. I love the play of the robust oil against the sweetness of the grapes. Cakes like this were originally seasonal and made only in the fall when grapes were being harvested. That limitation no longer exists, so, I make these cakes whenever I can find decent seedless grapes in the market. This version has lovely citrus overtones, and the flavor combination reminds me of a well-balanced sangria. The cake is really easy to make and it keeps and transports well. I hope you will give it a try. Here's the recipe.
Vintner's Grape Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Patricia Wells
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 of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
10 ounces small, fresh seedless purple grapes
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, tapping out any excess flour. Set aside.
2) Place eggs and sugar in bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until thick and lemon covered, about 3 minutes. Add butter, oil, milk, and vanilla extract, and mix until blended.
3) Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add lemon and orange zest, and toss to coat zest with flour. Spoon mixture into batter and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Scrape down sides of the bowl and mix again. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow flour to absorb liquids.
4) Stir about 3/4 of the grapes into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan and smooth top with a spatula.
5) Place pan in center of oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle top of cake with remaining grapes. Bake until 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. Place on a rack to cool. After 10 minutes, run a knife along sides of pan. Release and remove sides of springform pan, leaving cake on pan base. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Serve at room temperature, cut into thin wedges. Yield: 8 to 12 servings.
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