Yesterday, while waiting for my bread dough to finish resting, while watching Jamie make ten pounds of tomatoes disappear into pomodoro sauce, while relaxing after a long day of hiking and cooking and writing, I was absentmindedly browsing through the archives over at Wild Yeast, where I came across a recipe for a sourdough plum ginger cake. And as exhausted as I was, the idea of the whole thing got me thinking a bit. About using the sourdough starter to ferment the wheat flour. About how the air has been turning cool lately, and when I sit here and type at my little table, with the windows open, I need a light sweater. Or a blanket. Or a cup of tea. Or all of the above.
And what better way to usher in the transition between summer and fall than with a late summer fruit, wrapped up in a stodgy, spicy cake?
Yes, I thought so too...
Spicy nectarine upside down cake
Adapted from Wild Yeast
For the dough:
1 generous cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tb butter
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup sucanat
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 tsp vanilla
2 droppers fresh ginger tincture, or 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger root, grated
1/8 cup milk
For the pan shmear (well, that's what I'm calling it):
6 tb butter
1/2 cup sucanat
1/8 cup brandy
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp nutmeg
The day before you want to eat the cake, in a food processor, cream the butter. Add the sugar, and beat for four minutes or so, until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and combine, and then add the sourdough starter, and the ginger tincture, if using. Mix together all the dry ingredients (and the ginger, if using), and add to the mixer in two parts. Then add the milk. When fully combined, place in a bowl, covered, in the fridge overnight, or for at least 7 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350, and remove the batter from the fridge to warm up a bit before cooking.
Combine the butter, sucanat, brandy and spices, and spread over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Cut the two nectarines in half, remove the pits, then cut each half into eight thin slices. Spread the slices over the bottom of the cake pan in concentric circles. Then give the batter a stir. If it's too thick, add a little more milk (a tablespoon at a time) until it's just barely pourable. It should be able to spread out across the nectarines slowly.
Bake, at 350, for an hour, until a thin knife inserted comes out barely clean. And it might not, as the bottom gets awfully sticky. But the butter that bubbles up around the batter will have integrated intself into the cake, and the smell will be so overwhelmingly delicious that you won't be able to hold yourself back any longer.
Remove from the oven, and let it rest for 20 minutes, until the pan is cool enough to handle. Then turn it out onto a plate. It can be served immediately, or left to cool.
This post is a part of Fight Back Friday, hosted by Food Renegade http://cauldronsandcrockpots.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/nectarine-custard-cake/.