Baking was my first love. Before cooking. And it's odd because I didn't like sweets much. I just liked sharing them with people. When I was in high school, I could barely cook anything, but I could bake. I might have even left school early a few times to try some new recipes. The first recipe I made was a pumpkin bar recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I'd bring them to art class all the time, and I'm pretty sure that's why I had any friends at all. They were rich and made with a cup of oil. A whole cup of oil... HAHA!
I made a delicious stone fruit cake years ago and lost the recipe. I haven't seen another one like it since, so I decided to make my own recipe. You might be thinking, what is stone fruit? Stone fruit is basically any fruit with a pit. You can use cherries, peaches, nectarines, or plums for this cake. This recipe is kind of a breakfast cake. It's not too sweet, and has the texture of coffee cake with all the brown sugar crumbles. It's crispy on the outside with gooey caramelized nectarines on top and in the center.
I've always wondered how bakers just come up with a cake recipe. Baking is such a science. It can't be easy to just come up with something and it actually taste good, right?! But a great way to start doing this is to find a few basic recipes that work and build on them. If you know that you've cooked a bundt cake before at a certain temp for a certain time, that's a good start. Use that. Then what can you change about it? Did it not rise enough? Add baking powder. Was it not gooey enough? Add yogurt. Then make it really unique! It's certainly a process, but if you love it, you can come up with your own amazing recipes, too.
This recipe is about as easy as any cake recipe. It's not as pretty as a perfect bundt since it has a crumbly topping. But it will still be a showstopper.
Start by slicing the nectarines (or peaches or cherries or plums).
You'll add half the slices to the bottom of the pan and add your brown sugar crumble mixture.
Then add a layer of batter, another layer of crumbles and fruit. Then top it off with the remaining batter.
The cake comes out with little bits of tart nectarine on top for a nice surprise when you bite into it. Delicious! See the full recipe below.
STONE FRUIT CAKE RECIPE
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
3 tbsp butter, cold
2 cups flour plus 1 tbsp and some for dusting
2 nectarines or other stone fruit
1 tbsp shortening
1/2 cup salted butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, the 3 tbsp cold butter and 1 tbsp flour. Using a fork, cut the butter into the mixture until it's chunky and butter is well integrated. Set aside.
Cut the nectarines in half, removing the pit. Then cut them into thin wedges. Grease a bundt pan with the shortening thoroughly and dust it with flour until well coated. At the bottom of the pan, add half of the nectarine wedges and cover with half of the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until soft. Then add the eggs, mixing well. Add the milk and vanilla and mix on low for one minute. In a separate bowl, sift the 2 cups of flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time, mixing after each addition.
Pour half the batter mixture over the nectarines in the bundt. Use a spatula to spread evenly. Add the other half of the brown sugar mixture. Layer the remaining nectarines on top. Pour the remainder of the batter over the nectarines, spreading evenly with a spatula.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.