Some days you need a crowd-pleasing cake fast. This simple recipe is a great one to make when you don’t want to use any brain power or equipment. It also works with whatever fruit is in season.
Think of it like a little black dress – you can keep bringing it out but change the topping each time to make it feel different. Have it with custard in the winter, chilled crème Anglaise in summer, with a cup of tea after the school run or with ice cream, toasted almonds and berries in the summer. It is pretty delicious with homemade grapefruit curd too. It isn’t massively sweet so judge if you want to add a drizzle of icing to the top to sweeten things up.
Make a wintery syrup sponge by spooning 5-6 tablespoons of golden syrup into the base of an unlined, buttered cake tin. Then top with the cake mixture and bake.
It is perfect for a child’s birthday cake. Just leave the fruit off and once it’s cooked, slice it into 3 horizontally, using a bread knife. Then spread jam and buttercream or cream cheese on the slices, re-assemble and cover with fondant icing.
Summer fruit cake ingredients (makes a cake that will cut into 12-16 squares)
200g (7oz) salted butter
420g (3 and a third cups) self raising flour or 420g plain (all purpose) flour plus 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
150g (three quarters of a cup) golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
300g (one and a fifth cups) full fat plain natural yoghurt
5-6 peaches or nectarines or around 600g (1 and a half pounds) any other fruit – rhubarb, berries, apples figs, or plums.
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
Optional – flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan) 375°F (340°F convection)
- Melt the butter in a jug in the microwave or in a pan and leave to cool slightly.
- Crumple up a piece of parchment and use it to line a deep rectangular ceramic or glass baking dish, measuring around 33 x 23cm (13 x 9 inches)
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt (and baking powder if using plain flour).
- Put the jug of melted butter on a scale and weigh in the yoghurt then crack in the eggs and add the vanilla. Whisk the liquid ingredients together really well.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then use a spatula to mix them together. Don’t over-mix as the cake will be tough.
- Scrape the mixture into the lined dish. It is quite a stiff mixture so it may need helping into the corners.
- Slice the fruit, leaving the skin on, and lay the slices over the top of the cake. Scatter a tablespoon of sugar over the fruit, plus flaked almonds if using.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer come out clean. Allow to cool in the tin and then use the parchment to lift it out before slicing. Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for 3 days, or the cake can be frozen whole or in slices – perfect for packed lunches.