Monday, July 29, 2013

Little Summer Fruit Cakes

There are winter fruitcakes, and there are summer fruit cakes.  Hands down, the summer ones are way better*.

And little vanilla, lemon and almond-laced summer fruit cakes are the best of all.

Little Summer Fruit Cakes

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Adapted from the Little Apricot Cakes recipe in the June 2013 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  I swapped in buttermilk and added a hint of almond, flavors I love with summer fruit.  I may try adding orange zest and/or herbs like thyme and rosemary as well next time. I didn't have apricots, so I tried both cherry and strawberry.  Strawberry won. These cakes are completely un-fussy, plain and not very sweet...almost but not quite a muffin. No frosting, no topping, not show stopping or terribly memorable. Just tender, fragrant little bundles that give you a bite or two of happiness on a summer night. Or a summer morning. Or in the mid-to-late afternoon...
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp.baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (can use whole milk if you like)
  • about 1/2 c. of fresh fruit, stone fruit sliced into wedges, or berries halved
  • 2 Tbs. raw sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray a standard 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a separate bowl, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract, and beat until combined.
  • With mixer on low speed, add one third of the dry ingredients at a time, alternating with half the buttermilk each time.: 1/3 dry, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 dry.
  • Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each cup about 1/3 full, and smooth tops. Top with fruit slices and sprinkle with raw sugar.
  • Bake until cakes are golden brown on the edges and around the fruit, and a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 20–25 minutes.
  • Cool cakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the cakes to a rack and allow to cool completely.

* Winter fruitcake ladies, however, are hilarious:


  1. These sweet little cakes are so cute! Light and refreshing and perfect for summer!