There are recipes that I make once and although they are good, I never make them again. There are some dishes that I make a few times until the novelty wears off. And then there are classics - recipes that I keep going back to over and over again. This is one of those recipes.
In fact, I already posted this recipe on this site about six years ago. But this recipe is so good, that it deserves to be posted again. This cake defies all traditional baking conventions and rules and is almost magical. It has only three ingredients not including fruit and does not have any additional fat or oil. When I say it's easy, I mean it's super-easy-anyone-including-non-bakers-can-make-it. And when I say it's quick, I mean it's under-five-minutes-including-measuring-ingredients-quick.
One of my favourite things about this cake is the top crust that happens in about 75% of the time. It's crunchy, airy and almost meringue-like. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it happens it's delicious!
I've been making this cake for over a decade now and I've been eating it for more than three decades (yes, I've just dated myself). My mom has been making it since I was little and my grandma was making it when my mom was little too. There are two techniques to this wonderful cake and the one I'll describe in details is my favourite one. Most likely you'll be swearing a little bit once you make the batter because it will seem wrong, but that's the way it's supposed to be. It'll look like there's not enough batter and the cake will never work, but trust me, it will work!!!
I have taken new photos for this recipe, but to be honest, I like the original six-year old photo the best, so I'm still including it here.
Quick and Easy Cake
makes one 8x8 square cake
Eggs - 3 large or extra-large
Sugar - scant 1 cup
Flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon (optional, I rarely use it)
Fruit, chopped in 1-inch pieces - about 2 cups or enough to cover the bottom of the pan
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Butter and flour cake pan.
- Spread fruit over bottom of cake pan.
Now for the magic cake:
- In a large bowl large bowl, whisk the eggs until they are combined and uniform colour. Do not whip. Whisk for about 30 seconds only.
- Add sugar and whisk until sugar is evenly distributed and there are no sugar lumps. Do not whip. Whisk for about 30 seconds only.
- Add flour (and baking powder if using) and mix until flour disappears and there are no lumps.
- Pour batter over fruit and spread it to cover the whole pan. At this point most likely there will be not enough batter, but don't worry, it's supposed to look like this.
- Place the cake pan in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the oven, cool a little bit and enjoy.
- Once you cut a piece, you'll see that the batter magically spread all over fruit and became a light, sweet sponge. If you are lucky, then there's a thin meringue-like crust at the top of the cake. It's delicious! You can clearly see it on the picture below.
- Once you make the batter, it'll look all wrong. If you are too worried that there's not enough (and believe me, there is), then you can add a couple of tablespoons of yogurt or sour cream to the batter.
- Original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, but I've been reducing it a little bit lately. Not by much, but I usually fill the cup just within 1/4 inch of the edge.
- I usually use hand-held mixer to make this batter. It's even faster than using a whisk and/or spatula.
- Second technique for this cake is a little bit more traditional and takes a few extra minutes. Whip the eggs and sugar for a few minutes until they are doubled or even tripled in size. Fold in flour and continue with the instructions. This will make a very light, airy and tall cake. If I use this technique, I usually use a loaf pan to accentuate the height of the cake.
- This cake can be made with different fruit and berries: peaches, apricots, apples, pears, plums, nectarines, strawberries, cherries. You can even use frozen fruit and if so, then no need to defrost before baking.
The most traditional filling for this cake and my personal favourite is apples with pecans or walnuts and cinnamon. It tastes of fall and warmth and childhood!