So I went on a short trip last week, and here’s a big, juicy nugget of advice:
When talking to a total stranger at the bar about what you might have been in a previous life, it’s time to leave.
It’s amazing how quick a conversation can deteriorate. Plus, no one thinks they were anything less than the Queen of Sheba when speculating on this late-night topic.
My time away was filled with many short, sometimes meaningful conversations, including one with a particularly ambitious 22 year-old hair stylist in Las Vegas, who reminded me about what it means to be a polite airline seat-mate.
I ate some good food, too.
There was an outstanding bowl of fragrant and brothy soup with hot, fried tortilla strips and big chunks of California avocado – a real stand-out.
This was followed by stellar fish tacos – firm and white and also fried – topped with cabbage slaw and a burst of fresh lime.
In an airport, no less.
Man, I love fried things.
When I got home I went straight to the market, and piled my cart with the wonderful seasonal fruits and vegetables that are just coming out now. Peas, rhubarb, strawberries, artichokes, that kind of thing.
Makes me all giddy.
What follows here is a simple recipe for some little cakes – moist and lemon- scented, sprinkled with early- season peaches and a blackberry or two – finished with a dusting of brown sugar topping.
These little cakes are just the right amount of sweet and are full of fruity spring flavors.
It’ll remind you that summer is coming, the time of year when we have to eat as many peaches as possible.
An added bonus is these little peach blackberry cakes are great anytime – breakfast, brunch or tea, and extra good with a dollop of whipped cream.
- 1 cup fresh peaches, cut in 1/2' cubes (skin on is okay)
- 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (light is okay too)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- CAKE BATTER
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract (vanilla works fine too)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350
- Line jumbo-sized (1 cup) muffin tins with large cupcake liners (6 cup sized muffin tin)
- Place the muffin tin on a large baking sheet
- MAKE THE FRUIT MIXTURE
- In a medium sized bowl, place the cut peaches with the sugar and lemon juice and toss to coat. Keep the blackberries aside, which will be placed on top just before baking.
- MAKE THE TOPPING:
- In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, almonds and cinnamon together, and toss to combine.
- MAKE THE CAKE BATTER:
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
- In another bowl, medium-sized, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (use the high speed.)
- Add the eggs, one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Continue to beat until smooth. Stir in the lemon extract (or vanilla, if using) and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients and stir together to make s smooth batter...it will be thick.
- Divide the batter into each muffin tin, about 2/3 cup.
- Add a generous tablespoon of the peach mixture (draining off any syrup from the fruit first.) Add a few blackberries and a tablespoon of the brown sugar almond mixture for the top.
- Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven, and bake until lightly brown around the edges and set in the middle, about 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 25 minutes. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
Source: Studio Delicious, cake batter adapted from Hay Day Country Market Cookbook.