“Magic” Fruit Torte

Close up of 3-fruit "magic" fruit torte

The "magic" happens in the oven

Hello cake, meet fruit.

No, not “fruitcake,” that mash of preserved nastiness that parks in your stomach during the holidays like slowly hardening volcanic lava. I’m talking about featherlight cake which contains nuggets of fruit juicy goodness. And which is about as quick to whip up as baking a store bought, preservative-filled fake dessert.

This quick and easy one-bowl cake is my go-to summer dessert when I get that craving for a “bite of sweet” after dinner. Especially if dinner was heavy, like barbecue. Or fried chicken.   Or mac and cheese. (Wait, mac and cheese for dinner? In summer? Uh… shyeah.)

Fruit as dessert - seriously?

We’ve been preached at for years to look at fruit as dessert. To which I say an emphatic NO. Fruit all by itself is fruit. Health food. Good for you. But kind of boring. Dessert, on the other hand, is cake. Or pie. Or chocolate-something. Or pudding. Or… shall I continue? *Ahem*

Don’t get me wrong, I love fruit. Any kind of berry, bananas, those tiny oranges known as “Cuties.” (Though not apples. Apples don’t excite me unless they’re dressed in a buttery, sugared crust, top and bottom, with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream to keep them company. But I digress.)

Fruit on its own “just ain’t dessert.” Fruit is dependable, responsible, nice and polite. And sure, you can be all cosmopolitan and put some cheese next to it, but I just call that SALAD. Put that in front of this Southern gal, and you’re going to have to ‘splain yourself.

Dessert, on the other hand, is wild. Exciting. Thrilling. And maybe even a little dangerous. (To your waistline, that is. Yeah, whatever.)

Nobody sits through dinner thinking, “Gee, I can’t wait to have a banana – golly!” But put a banana pudding on the kitchen counter, still warm from baking the meringue, and your dinner guests will be fidgeting all the way through their final bite.

Have your (quick & easy) cake and eat it too

My mother's recipe, vanilla-stained, surrounded with fruits of the season
A tried and true (and much-loved) family recipe

The beauty of this yummy cake is that it’s exciting (because it’s dessert!), but it’s so light with juicy nuggets of fruit in every bite that you’ll feel quite virtuous eating it.

And here’s another reason to love this cake – you can use any fruit that you have on hand! I used apricots, blackberries and raspberries, all of which have a shelf life of about 20 minutes here in North Texas. But peaches, strawberries, apples (very thinly sliced) and other fruits work too.

And the bonus reason to love this cake? You can use fruits that are on their way out of freshness, and you’ll never know once it comes out of the oven. So if you’re about to lose fruit to “old age,” throw them in this cake and feel smug that you’re not throwing good money down the drain.

Let the magic begin

Cake batter being spread in 9" springform pan
It doesn't look like a lot of batter...

What makes this cake so “magic” is what happens to the fruit and batter in the oven.

Sure, it doesn’t look like a ton of batter, but it’s enough, trust me. And it’s quite thick – you will need to spread it with a spatula to put it where it needs to be.

Then you place the fruit on top of the batter. Yep, just lay it there. If you have “big fruit” like peaches, plums, apples, slice them thinly and lay them either willy nilly or arrange them in a decorative design.

Small fruits (like berries) can be sprinkled over the batter, or, as I like to do, arranged in a bullseye. Like this. The biggest fruit on the outside down to the smallest. Pretty. Enjoy it now, because it’s about to perform its magic act.

Top view of cake before baking. The fruit is arranged in concentric rings.
Looks rather artistic, yes? But that "art" is about to disappear.

Going in, it looks so pretty. Coming out, it smells divine. And most of the fruit has gone into hiding!

The cake when it comes out of the oven. The batter has risen up over the fruit.
Voila - a near-complete disappearing act!
The top of the cake sprinkled with powdered sugar
A bit of powdered sugar to dress things up a little...

…and the rest is history.

A final note: because this cake IS so light, it’s equally delicious for breakfast. Or afternoon tea (or coffee). Or a midnight snack.

Let’s get to it.

Close up of 3-fruit "magic" fruit torte

"Magic" Fruit Torte

A delicate, moist, lightly-sweetened cake, perfect after dinner, with afternoon tea or coffee, as breakfast, or any time! The "magic" happens when the fruit switches places with the batter during baking.
Course Dessert
Servings 8 servings

Equipment

  • 9" spring form pan
  • offset spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sifted all purpose flour (Important! Sift first, then measure.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fruit (Amount is approximate and depends on type of fruit. You need enough to cover the surface.)
  • powdered sugar (Optional)
  • Cinnamon, additional sugar, additional flour

Instructions
 

  • Using a hand mixer, cream sugar and butter until fluffy (around 3-5 minutes at med/high speed)
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating only until incorporated.
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt into mixture.
  • Spread batter in buttered 9" springform pan. (An offset spatula makes this easier, but a large spoon will work fine too.)
  • Place fruit on top of batter. If using stone fruit (peaches, apricots, plums), halve them and place cut side down (no need to peel). Or slice them. Apples should be sliced. Berries can be sprinkled in gaps between larger fruits if desired. Or cover the whole surface with berries.
  • Sprinkle top with additional sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle with a little flour if fruit is extra juicy, i.e. peaches, plums.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until top is golden and cake springs back when pressed with finger.
  • Let cool, then sift powdered sugar on top.

Notes

Notes:
  1. I didn't use additional flour for the apricots.
  2. The toothpick test won't necessarily work well if you have a mixture of fruits because you can't see the fruit by the time the cake is ready to test. The "press test" is more reliable.
Keyword fruit, magic, one bowl, fruit torte, quick and easy, cake, fruit, summer
Close up of 3-fruit "magic" fruit torte
It's fruit. Therefore it's healthy.

Now it’s your turn. Try this “magic” fruit torte with your own choice of fruit and post your results on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to let me know so I can congratulate you!

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Hi, I'm Shea!

Hi, I'm Shea!

Do you prefer handmade to store bought? Would you rather make something than buy it? If you want to tap into your inner creative genius and say, "Yes, I made that," stick with me. From greeting cards to soap to old-fashioned desserts "from my mother's recipe box," (sprinkled with tales of life as an almost-senior), you'll learn that handmade beats the socks off store bought!

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