Pretty Little Summer Fruit Cakes

pretty little summer fruit cakes | apt 2b baking co
pretty little summer fruit cakes | apt 2b baking co
pretty little summer fruit cakes | apt 2b baking co
pretty little summer fruit cakes | apt 2b baking co
pretty little summer fruit cakes | apt 2b baking co
pretty little summer fruit cakes | apt 2b baking co

I took another round of pottery classes this Spring, and finally got most of the pieces I made all of those months ago back from the studio (the plates in this post). Making pottery is a good exercise for me. It is one that requires a lot of patience, which I find myself in short supply of these days. With pottery there is a lot of waiting: waiting for things to dry to trim, waiting for things to dry to fire, waiting for the bisque fire, then glazing, then the glaze fire. Then sometimes, you get to the end of all of it, after hours and hours of work, and your shit breaks at the very last moment (like the cracked green plate below). It is unavoidable and it happens to the most experienced potters. It is a craft that requires a lot of humility.

Baking comes much easier. It feels natural and simple and I can generally bake things really, really fast - very little patience required. These little summer fruit cakes are that kind of easy treat: quickly thrown together, but quite pretty and tasty. Use any small fruit you like for these cakes, my favorites of the ones pictured were the cakes with little slices of apricots and blackberries, but use whatever you have around. It is a great way to use up little bits of things you may have kicking around in the fridge.

Pretty Little Summer Fruit Cakes

makes 8-15 cakes, depending on the size of the molds

I used about 10 small brioche molds and 2 mini loaf pans here and a combination of lots of odds and ends of fruit that were left in my fridge. Any summer fruit, cut into thin slices or berry sized chunks would be great here. I don't mind the flavor of almond extract in almond cakes, but I know it is a divisive ingredient so feel free to leave it out if you aren't a fan.

6 ounces high quality butter, softened but still cool

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups assorted summer fruit (berries, halved and pitted cherries, sliced apricots, peaches or nectarines, and currants are all great options)

Preheat oven to 325 and great and flour your pans. Put the pans on a baking sheet so they will be easy to move in and out of the oven.

Sift the dry ingredients together, press on the almond meal to help it through the sifter if necessary.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth, then slowly stream in the sugar with the mixer on medium speed. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and cream the butter and sugar together until light, fluffy, and smooth. About 3 minutes.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the extracts.

Reduce the speed to low and alternately add the milk and flour mixture. Mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Pour the batter into the pans and top each cake with a few pieces of fruit. Bake the cakes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-40 minutes depending on the size of the pans.

Cool for 20 minutes, then remove the cakes to a rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioner's sugar and an additional berry or two just before serving.

pretty little summer fruit cakes | apt 2b baking co
pretty little summer fruit cakes | apt 2b baking co

Easy Blueberry Spelt Scones

easy blueberry spelt scones (apt 2b baking co | yossy arefi)
easy blueberry spelt scones (apt 2b baking co | yossy arefi)

It has been a busy summer here in apartment 2b, as they always seem to be. I am finishing up my book (!), working on a couple of fun freelance projects, and also trying to eat lots of ice cream and grilled corn and tomatoes and other summery things while the getting is good. Tough life, I know...But! I want to pop in to say a quick hello and share this easy recipe for blueberry scones with a bit of spelt flour. I am liking spelt flour more and more these days, mostly because you can easily substitute it for all purpose flour in most recipes and it has a great nutty flavor (and some added nutrition if that makes you feel better about eating baked goods).

These scones are a riff on the tangerine poppyseed scones I posted a few months ago with a summery twist: a generous amount of blueberries. This is the kind of recipe I love because you can swap ingredients in and out easily to suit your own tastes: change up the lemon for lime or orange, use raspberries, blackberries or currants instead of blueberries, add a handful of chopped chocolate, use all purpose flour or part whole wheat, rye, or oat. Go for it, and have some fun!

Easy Blueberry Spelt Scones

makes 8

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

one lemon

1 cup (4 1/2oz/128g) all purpose flour

1 cup (4 1/2oz/128g) spelt flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 ounces (112g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

1/2 cup (120ml)  buttermilk

1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400ยบF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the sugar to a large bowl and zest the lemon into the bowl. Add the flours, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter and use your fingers to press each cube of butter into a flat shard about the size of a quarter. Keep tossing the butter in the flour mixture to ensure that it is well coated. Make a well in the center of the mixture add add the buttermilk and heavy cream. Stir gently to combine, but don't worry if there are a couple of dry spots. Add the blueberries and stir gently couple more times. It's best to not over mix this type of dough. Use your hands to knead the dough a couple of times in the bowl then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a circle about 1-inch tall and 7- inches wide. Use a knife to cut the dough into 8 wedges. Transfer the wedges to the baking sheet, brush each one with a bit of heavy cream and sprinkle granulated sugar on top. Bake until the scones are golden brown, 18-22 minutes. Enjoy warm. These scones are best enjoyed on the day they are made.