Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summery lemon cakes with grilled pluots

Last Saturday, the farmer's market once again led me to try something new. Pluots look like plums, but are hybrids of plums and apricots. Sweet and juicy, they have greenish skin and bright pink flesh. I couldn't resist buying a container of 6 of them. I knew we'd never eat all of them (I had already bought peaches and raspberries), so I knew I had to serve them with something. I also gave one to my parents to try.

As I rode home, I decided on lemon cakes. I'd seen a recipe in Food Network Magazine that sounded interesting. So before the sun got too hot, I cranked up the oven. It was also a great opportunity to use my new mini bundt pan!! It makes 6 little cakes in 3 different designs.

One unique thing about this recipe is that it is prepared in a blender. So I hauled out my blender and started whizzing away. I made a number of modifications from the original and I also served them with grilled pluots. Here's my recipe. This makes 6 small or 12 mini bundt cakes. If you don't have the specialty pan, use muffin cups or whatever, just watch your baking time.


Lemon vanilla olive oil cakes with grilled pluots
For the cakes
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
For the glaze
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Confectioners' sugar (about 1 cup)
3 pluots, quartered, pits discarded (peaches or nectarines make a good substitute.)
Preheat oven to 350F. Brush pan with melted butter. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess.
Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl with a fork. Set aside.
Pulse sugar and lemon zest in a blender until combined. Add eggs one at a time, blending between each addition. Add vanilla. Gradually pour in the olive oil and milk. Pulse until it forms a thin batter.
Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing and scraping the sides between each.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in center of oven for about 25 minutes until cakes just start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a rack. Cool slightly.
While cakes are in the oven, make the glaze. Whisk together the butter and lemon juice then whisk in confectioners sugar until glaze is the consistency you like. drizzle over the cakes.
Before serving, preheat the grill over medium-high heat. Grill the pluots, flesh-side down, for about 3 minutes per side. You want some grill marks to form, but you don't want them to turn to mush. Repeat on the other side.
Serve cakes with grilled pluots and a sprig of fresh mint.
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