Aside from the fruit, the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples. This has become the ultimate dessert for an impromptu get-together. Give me an hour head's up, and I'll have this torte at the ready. As it turns out, all you have to do is arrange fruit in a pretty pattern and people are extremely impressed. (But hey, it also doesn't hurt that this simple cake tastes really good.)
So, obviously the recipe here is for a strawberry and apple torte. But here are some other ideas: strawberry-mango torte, summer plum or peach torte, autumnal gingered pear, wintry cranberry-apple. Play around with some spices, depending on the fruit. Also, lime might make more sense than lemon, or try orange. (I've also omitted the citrus juice and zest altogether - still great!)
Strawberry Apple Torte
adapted from Hay Day Country Market Cookbook
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tbs (1 stick butter), room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 apple, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter and flour an 8-in cake pan; pour out any excess flour.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
3. In another bowl, cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar together until light and fluffy (easiest with a mixer, but I've had good results by hand too). Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Blend in the vanilla and zest. Add the reserved dry ingredients and mix to form a smooth, thick batter. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
4. Toss the fruit with the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Arrange the topping decoratively over the batter, using just enough fruit to cover the batter in a single overlapping layer. Sprinkle with the last 1/2 tsp sugar, and bake in the middle of oven until lightly browned around the edges and just set in the middle, 30-35 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes.