A while back I made Marian Burros’s famous Purple Plum Torte recipe and it’s a cake I bake on the reg when plums are in season. It’s such an easy recipe that is perfect for either tea or, can be effortlessly turned into a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I happened to be in Elgin a week ago and my friend Nicole Precoudis from Terra Madre farm insisted that we pick a few of her newly ripened Golden Delicious apples. There is something quite magical about eating an apple right off the tree but I knew I wanted to bake them into a cake of sorts because I adore apples baked into things.
Berries and apples are lovely together too as I discovered with my best-ever apple crumble with strawberries, but I wanted to give cherries a whirl. I always keep frozen cherries on hand as these are more affordable and obviously readily available all year round. My first attempt at making this apple and cherry rendition was to use the same weight of fruit as the plum torte – which I made side by side as a tester. Although this was very fruity and delicious, it took double the amount of time to bake. I tested it again with less fruit and I poached the apples for 5 minutes before to ensure they were soft enough for the final result. The images here were shot with double the quantity of unpoached fruit in case you thought it looked a little too much.
This was also the first time I had made a recipe and done a shoot for the fun of it in a while. I have been tied up with a large client project over the last 5 weeks and I have missed being able to create recipes for DrizzleandDip.com. I also wanted to shoot this in my kitchen and on my Bianca Carrara marble tabletop, which I’m so completely head over heels in love with. The top was cut from a slab at WOMAG and the source of my first marble piece in my studio. Not only is marble so very on trend at the moment, but it will also always be a classic and timeless investment in your home. As a stylist, I love that each of my pieces of marble creates a totally different look. My studio piece reminds me of Paris with its soft swirls of the grey vein, and my kitchen top takes me straight back to Italy and the cooking class I did in Tuscany. I chose to have my marble honed to give it a matte look for photography and because I prefer it to a shiny finish, but having that extra sealing would be more practical. I’ve also had to learn how to care for marble, which as a natural stone is porous, so I compiled a few tips:
How to care for the marble surfaces in your kitchen
- The best way to protect your marble is to prevent it from exposure to too many spills, and if it does get spilt on, to wipe it up straight away. Use a wooden board to chop on and keep a cloth close at hand.
- Do not use any cleaning agents that may have any acid in (vinegar/lemon juice) in them, as these will harm the finish of your marble. The acid will eat at the surface of your marble almost immediately (called etching). Be particularly careful when cutting citrus on marble.
- Keep your marble countertops clean with daily wiping with mild soapy water or use a microfiber cloth.
- Oily substances can also leave a mark to ensure that all butter, oil bottle etc are in a container and are clean underneath. Keep all food on or in another container when on marble to be on the safe side.
- Never allow water or other liquids to remain on marble surfaces and swap metal canisters with ceramic of glass to prevent any rust marks.
- Getting stains out of marble is tricky, but has been done. Generally, to remove discoloured stains, spread a paste made of baking soda and water on the spot. Cover this with plastic wrap, tape down the edges, so it remains in place, and wait 24 hours for the mixture to “pull out” the discolouration. Gently wipe the paste away with a warm and a damp cloth the next day.
- The first step to protecting your marble is to seal it. A sealer will delay any staining on your marble, so whether you have marble floors or vanities, you will have time to clean up the spill. Sealing should happen right after your marble has dried after being installed or tiled, and then covered with solid protection until there are no more contractors on site. Your marble should be sealed every 5 or so years.
*COOKS NOTES – on the recipe
The changes I have made to this recipe other than altering the fruit completely is I have used salted butter instead of unsalted and then omitted to add salt. Until someone can give me a solid and convincing scientific reason why using super expensive unsalted butter and then adding salt to the recipe is any different to just using salted butter, then I’m sticking with it. Frankly, salt amplifies the flavour of sugar and is generally a flavour enhancer so I’m really comfortable around using it in my butter and for desserts.
Recipe – makes one medium sized torte
- 3/4 cup (150 gms) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (115 gms) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 250gms apple pieces cut into medium sized chunks about 2.5cm
- 1 Tbs brown or white sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 150 gms cherries (pitted if fresh and thawed and drained if frozen)
- Preheat over to 180C / 350°F.
- Put the apples into a small pot with ½ cup of water, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 Tbsp of brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then cook for 4 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
- Sift the flour & baking powder in a bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the 3/4 cup of sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time making sure each is well incorporated before adding the next. Add the dry ingredients and mix briefly until just combined.
- Spoon the cake batter into a 23 cm / 9-inch springform cake tin that has been lined with baking paper and smooth the top. Arrange the cooked apple chunks and then cherries evenly over the batter. Sprinkle the top with a little brown or white sugar and a light dusting of cinnamon.
- Bake until the cake is golden brown and a sharp knife inserted into the centre part of the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. If your cake is over-browning, loosely cover with foil from about ¾ of the way through the baking time. Cool on rack.
- Once cool, leave at room temperature overnight before taking it out of the tin. You could serve this with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or with a light sifting of icing sugar.
*Disclaimer – My Kitchen marble slab was given to me by WOMAG to showcase my recipes on & give their products exposure.