Some time ago, my testers and I came across a decades-old New York Times recipe for a simple fruit-based torte. We made it and then created a version that we all preferred using a slightly different technique: folding melted butter into the base (rather than beating it together with the sugar) to create a type of French sponge called a genoise. (In her book At My French Table, Dorie Greenspan offers a similar recipe for an apple cake.)
This version has, in our opinion, a moister texture and more flavour. We used peaches, but many kinds of fruit – plums, apples, apricots – can be substituted. I sometimes find that peaches aren’t as tasty cooked as they are raw, so we have taken care of that by marinating them before cooking. It is also very important to make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
4 large peaches (about 2 cups),
peeled, pitted and chopped
into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
½ cup butter
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 small peaches,
2 tbsp peach jam
Marinate chopped peaches with lemon juice and zest. Melt butter with ginger in a small pot over medium heat. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Butter an 8-inch spring-form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Stir flour with baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a medium bowl with electric beaters until frothy. Gradually add sugar to eggs and beat for 5 minutes or until the batter is thick and pale and it forms a ribbon when beater is lifted. Beat in vanilla. Fold ¹/³ of the flour mixture into the eggs. Mix in half of the melted butter. Add another ¹/³ flour and remaining butter, finishing with remaining flour. The batter should be smooth and not very thick.
Fold in drained, chopped peaches. Spoon into prepared pan. Arrange peach slices atop the cake about extra slices.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. If cake begins to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil and continue cooking.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and release. Place a plate on top of the cake and flip over. Remove metal pan bottom and peel off parchment. Flip back over onto wire rack and cool completely.
Heat jam in a small pot over medium heat until liquid. Brush cake with jam. Serve with vanilla ice cream and sliced fresh peaches, if desired.