Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nectarine and apple spelt bread-cake

You may be wondering about my title for this post. The truth is, I set out to make a cake but as a consequence of too little sugar, ended up with something more bread-like than cake-like. It still has a decent dose of cake in the mix though, and as I baked it in a round cake tin, it looks like a cake. Basically, it is a hybrid baked good! The texture, taste and ingredients intersect in a way that justifies eating this for breakfast, even as it is enjoyable with ice cream for dessert.

If you wanted this to pass as a standard cake, you could obviously rectify my sugar issue by adding more. I used a mix of coconut sugar and maple syrup, and probably could have doubled the quantity of each. I'm still a bit unsure of coconut sugar and seem to expect it to be sweeter than the regular type - goodness knows why!

I drew inspiration for this cake from the nectarine upside down cake Shannon recently posted on Yup Its Vegan. As you may notice, I didn't make an upside down cake, instead arranging fruit on top of the cake before baking. I also added apples to the nectarines, and put some fruit within the cake mix too. The fruit was the main source of sweetness and I really enjoyed the contrast of apple and nectarine, and having fruit within as well as on top. However, Shannon's upside down version was really beautiful, so I may try an exact replica of hers in the future.

You will notice that the top of my cake is cracked. I tend to have this problem when I make cakes with fruit toppings. I thought it was due to taking the cake out of the tin too soon, but on this occasion I left it to cool completely before removing. Other possible causes seem to include too much raising agent, too small a cake tin, or an oven temperature that is too high. My cake tin likely is too small, given I am still using the only tin we have!, but two teaspoons of baking powder may also have been too much for this cake. I've made a note in the ingredient list that you may like to try less. I have also included notes regarding the sweetener amount.

While I'm certainly sharing an imperfect recipe here, I liked this a lot despite the low sugar levels - and perhaps because of them, because it made the cake perfect with sweetened yogurt or ice cream. Indeed, I would probably make it with a similar amount of sweetener again, but in a loaf tin rather than as a round cake.

All in all, I hope this may provide some apple and nectarine baking inspiration, even if you tweak the specifics of the recipe.

Nectarine and apple spelt bread-cake
With fruit within and on top, this can be made minimally sweet in a loaf tin or with more sweetener as a cake
Makes 1 small loaf or cake to serve 6 to 8

1-1/2 cups spelt flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar OR 1/2 cup coconut sugar for a sweeter cake
2 tsp baking powder * (see note)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or milk of choice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 cup maple syrup OR 1/4 cup maple syrup for a sweeter cake
1/8 cup neutral oil
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 nectarine, chopped

For the topping -
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 nectarine, sliced

Note -
The top of my cake cracked, which may reflect too much rising agent. You could try using slightly less baking powder if you felt confident to adjust this.

Preheat your oven to 180'C (350'F) and prepare a medium-large loaf or cake tin.

Combine the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl. Add in the almond milk, lemon juice, maple syrup and oil and stir well to combine. Add in the chopped apple and nectarine and stir through to incorporate.

Transfer the batter to your prepared tin. Arrange the sliced apple and nectarine on top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Do you have any advice on cracked cake tops? And what about low-sugar loafs vs. typical cakes - what wins for you?


  1. I wonder if it's got something to do with the lower oil content that you used? I would say over mixing the batter can cause cracking (due to the gluten formation), but the inside of your cake looks just right so I don't think that is the cause! Or maybe having the fruit on the bottom just causes mysterious properties that we don't understand.. =P. In any case, I'm really glad you enjoyed it despite the quirks. :) Apples sound like a delicious addition, too!

    1. There are so many things that can go wrong / influence results with baking! Luckily it tasted good enough for me to not mind much about the cracks :-) Thank you again for the inspiration!

  2. I like my cakes/muffins on the less sweet side so I'm sure I'd have been more than happy with this "bread-cake" without any extra sweetness. I'd probably slather it in almond butter too!
    I haven't had any nectarines for a couple of weeks. Time is running out!

    1. I'm starting to feel panicky about fitting in as much fruit as I can! Having had summer produce for so long, I'm very aware that the time for it really is coming to an end. I don't think I've had enough apricots or cherries!

      This would be delicious with almond butter ;)

  3. More fruit and less sugar sounds good to me. I have had cracked cakes but don't know why and quite frankly they have still tasted delicious (as I am sure yours does) so I haven't worried about them much.

    1. I don't usually worry too much either, but it did dawn on me this time that it always tends to be the fruit ones! Maybe I am putting in too much fruit for the cake to bear...but fortunately it just gives an excuse to eat the cake solo so it's not all bad ;)

  4. With a hefty dose of fruit on top and not that much sugar...this is defintiely breakfast-worthy!!

  5. I'm with Johanna on all counts! I haven't baked with nectarines before but would love to try this one :)

    1. They are really tasty in baked form! I'm sure peaches would work just as well too.


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