Butter Cake with Caramelised Nectarines
This is a stunning, summer afternoon tea cake which works equally well as a dessert. The combination of fruit, cream and sponge makes it an all-time favourite.(Torta al burro con pesca noce caramellate)
200 gr (7 oz) butter, cut up into small pieces plus a little extra for greasing
220 gr (8 oz) caster (superfine) sugar plus 8 tablespoons for the nectarines
grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250 gr (9 oz) of plain (all-purpose) flour plus a little extra for cake tin
1 teaspoon baking powder
170 ml (2/3 cup) milk
4 medium-sized, firm, ripe nectarines
1 quantity mascarpone cream
Making the Cake
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
1. Put the butter into a bowl. Add the 220 gm(8 oz) of caster sugar and the lemon zest, and whip until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one by one, whipping well after each addition and mix in the vanilla. Add the sifted flour and the baking powder, and mix. Add the milk and whisk to incorporate.
3. Butter and flour a 24 cm (9 ½ in) springform or 26 cm (10 ½ in) bundt (ring mould) cake tin. Pour in the mixture. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
4. While the cake is baking, put the nectarines into a saucepan of boiling water for a few seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water. Slip off the skins and cut the nectarines into halves or quarters.
5. Heat a saucepan over a medium-high heat on the stovetop until it is hot. Add the nectarines and when they begin to colour, add the 8 tablespoons of sugar. Lower the heat slightly. Toss the nectarines with the sugar until they are golden and the sugar has caramelised. Remove from the heat.
6. Remove the cake from the oven. Gently loosen the sides of the cake. Leave to cool a little before removing the side of the cake tin. Serve warm or at room temperature, in slices with a nectarine or two, drizzled with caramel and a dollop of mascarpone cream.
Making the Mascarpone Cream (Crema di mascarpone) Makes about 500 ml (2 cups)
*This is a lovely, thick and rich cream to serve with dessert. You can add a little more sugar if you prefer a sweeter cream.
1. Put the cream (250 ml 1 cup ) into a bowl with the sugar (2 tablespoons caster – superfine- sugar) and the vanilla (1 teaspoon vanilla essence) and whip lightly until it just begins to thicken.
2. Gently whisk in the mascarpone (250 gr 9 oz), taking care not to overbeat it. You may adjust the consistency by adding more cream or mascarpone.
3. Use immediately or cover, and store in the fridge, but give another whisk before serving.
Serving the Dessert (you have various options!)
1. Serve all the parts separately
2. Slice the peach into medium sized slices, spread a nie thick layer of Mascarpone Cream on to the cake and decorate symmetrically with the caramelized peaches.