We eat fruit in the summer by the handfuls -- sometimes out of our fridge, sometimes from farmers market stands (yes, we know we're only supposed to try one piece and no, that doesn't stop us). We churn them into ice cream, turn them into refreshing popsicles, and bake them endlessly into bubbling pies and crumbles. But there's one, less-practiced way to put all that delicious fruit to good use, and that's to put them in cakes. Nectarines, plums, peaches, and their warm-weather fruit friends are perfect cake fillers. They keep the batter particularly moist and offer a lighter twist on traditional cakes.
8 tablespoons salted butter
About 1 1/2 pounds ripe, sweet nectarines, pitted and quartered
1 cup, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 cups mascarpone
1/8 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Wipe the inside of a large shallow casserole with a generous amount of butter. Cover the base with nectarine quarters, cut side up.
2. Sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon sugar. In a mixer, cream the butter and the remaining sugar. When it's nice and fluffy white, beat in the eggs, then the mascarpone and almond extract. Fold in the flour by hand.
3. Spoon this mixture over the nectarines and spread it close to the edges of the casserole. Bake in the oven 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool before serving. less