Brown Sugar Pecan Cake with Caramelized Nectarines
Sometimes I get inspired by an ingredient but other times it might be a new piece of equipment, like this square “ring” pan sent to the Test Kitchen by NordicWare. They call it the Bundt Squared Pan. The gorgeous defined grooves were calling to me. I wanted to make a somewhat simple cake to allow the pan design to do the decorative work for me so my mind immediately went to pound type cakes, dense and moist. (For more cakes like this, check out our CRAFTSY class: Coffee Shop Cakes: Good to The Last Crumb).
Being mid-summer, my thoughts also turned to fragrant stone fruit. You could make the fruit topping with peaches, but they would need to be peeled first. The nectarine skin is tender enough to leave on and we prefer them for their ease of preparation and also for the lovely rich sunset hues their skin provides. The sour cream topping is optional but lovely if you want to gussy this up. Of course, the cake is also delightful on its own with no embellishment. If you like the look of this cake, check out the Blueberry Coconut Bundt Cake as well.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup toasted pecan halves, chopped
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 pounds ripe but firm nectarines, pitted, stoned, and thinly sliced (about 10 medium fruit to yield 6 cups sliced)
- ⅔ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1½ cups sour cream
- ⅓ cup sugar
- Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees F. Coat the inside of a 10-cup ring or Bundt pan, such as the Nordic Ware Bundt Squared Pan, thoroughly with baking spray (that contains fat and flour). Make sure to coat every nook and cranny.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt to aerate and combine; whisk in nuts and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until very light and creamy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in ginger and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time, allowing each to become incorporated before adding the next. Lightly beat in flour mixture just until incorporated. Scrape into prepared pan. Smooth top with a small offset spatula then tap bottom of pan firmly on counter to dislodge any large air bubbles.
- Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging. Let cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Cake is ready to serve or plate with fruit topping and cream topping as described below. Cake (without fruit or topping) may be stored under a cake dome at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- While the cake is baking make the fruit and topping: For the Fruit: Combine the nectarines, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the nectarines give off juice and the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, tossing frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until the fruit softens and the juices begin to caramelize. If there is a lot of juice, remove the fruit and reduce the juice to a thick syrup. Re-combine the fruit and syrup if necessary. The filling may be held at room temperature for 2 hours.
- For the Topping: Gently whisk together the sour cream and sugar in a small bowl until smooth, but not too loose. Let sit for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Topping can be made a day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Whisk together gently if it separates.
- The cooling period is crucial. Unmolding a too hot cake will promote breakage, but if you cool the cake in the pan completely, the cake might stick to the pan. Cool on a rack as directed. When you touch the pan it will still be warm, but it won’t be hot and it won’t be room temperature; it will be slightly warm. That’s the sweet spot! The cake, as you can see in the top image, unmolds flawlessly.