September 7, 2013

Mini Nectarine Cakes

My lunch never feels complete without dessert, even if it is just a bite. Chocolate chip cookies and brownies are always good; however, sometimes I just want some cake. I love vanilla and chocolate, and red velvet is particularly delicious, but it's my last chance to take advantage of the fresh summer fruit before fall comes around. I know I keep saying that, but it really does feel like summer is ending this time. 

This recipe is just a simple vanilla cake, light and fluffy with a touch of lemon. You can always substitute the vanilla extract for almond extract or something else, and you can use a different citrus zest instead of lemon, too. I like to top the cakes with sliced nectarines; you can also use any variety of apricots, plums, or peaches. 

When you can't find those fresh anymore, cranberries, figs, and other fall and winter fruits would be delicious as well. To add another light layer of sweetness and a bit of crunch, I sprinkle the fruit with a pinch of sugar so that it brulees and crisps up in the oven while the cakes cook.

The cakes couldn't be easier to make, and they are small enough that they satisfy my sweet tooth without being too heavy. The sweet, fluffy cake contrasts with the lightly tart fruit on top, which makes them the perfect snack or dessert. It's no wonder my friends are always jealous of my lunch!

1 Cup Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
6 T Butter, Softened
1/3 Cup + 1 T Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
1 tsp Vanilla
1/3 Cup Milk
2-3 Nectarines, Sliced

Heat oven to 350F and line a mini muffin tin with paper cups.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the butter and 1/3 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions.

Scoop the batter into the prepared tins and top with a few slices of nectarine. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake for 12 minutes or until cooked through.

Makes 24
Recipe Adapted from Mary-Frances Heck

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