Friday, July 07, 2023


Being self-taught, my pastry journey had plenty of ups and downs, especially in the beginning. Incredibly inexperienced, but with my heart set on learning how to bake, I often trusted others' and their preferences regarding desserts and how they should be. However, as it happens in life, consistency is the key to everything, and over the years I developed my own set of preferences and rules for baking.
Soft cake layers and creamy, rich fillings are mandatory for a cake I make. And when I say I love fruit cakes, this is the type of cake I have in mind. Light and airy cake layers and plenty of ripe summer fruit. Perfect treat for all summer gatherings.
I used the combination of fruit that I love the most, but if you prefer peaches to apricots or oranges, feel free to mix and match the fruit to your liking. All combinations work as long as the total quantity of fruit stays the same.
And when it comes to the texture, I absolutely love bits of fruit in the filling and frosting, however, if you want them completely smooth, feel free to use an immersion blender once the fruit is cooked. That way, you can get a very smooth final coat of frosting on the cakes.

For the soft cake layers
180 grams plain flour
40 grams cornflour
180 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
200 millilitres cold water
50 millilitres sunflower oil
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the fruit centres
150 grams apricots
100 grams oranges
50 grams peaches
85 grams granulated sugar
75 millilitres cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
80 grams cornflour
60 grams vegan block butter
For the fresh fruit frosting
250 grams apricots
50 grams peaches
100 grams oranges
100 millilitres cold water
80 grams cornflour
75 grams granulated sugar
250 grams vegan block butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Start by making the fresh fruit frosting. Remove the stones from the fruit and segment the oranges, and chop everything finely. Place the fruit into a larger heavy-bottomed pot, add in the water, sugar, cornflour, and vanilla, and place it over medium heat. Let the fruit heat up slowly, stirring a few times while you wait. As soon as it starts to bubble, start stirring vigorously, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until some of the fruit breaks down, and a thick fruit paste forms. Remove from heat and immediately cover the top with cling film or a piece of baking parchment. Leave it to cool down completely.
To make the soft cake layers, take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour, cornflour, and the baking powder. Whisk them together, and then add in the sugar. Whisk to combine, set it aside for a moment, and prepare three small round cake pans (15 cm) by lining the bottom and sides with baking parchment.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and add in water, oil, and vanilla. Quickly whisk until blended, and as soon as the batter is ready, pour it into the prepared pans, tap them once or twice on the counter, and bake in a nicely preheated oven, at 180°C, for 12-15 minutes, checking for doneness early.
Every oven bakes differently, so as soon as a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, it is done. Remove them from the oven and let the cakes cool down in the pans completely.
To make the fruit gelée centres, once again remove the stones from peaches and apricots, and segment the oranges. Chop all the fruit as finely as you like, and place it into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Pour in the water, and add the sugar, cornflour, and vanilla. Place the pot over medium heat. As soon as it starts to simmer and bubble, start stirring vigorously, and again cook for 2-3 minutes, until a very thick fruit paste forms.
Remove from heat and immediately add in the vegan block butter. Let it stand for a minute, and then stir to incorporate it. If desired, you can blend everything with an immersion blender. If not, leave it as it is, and cover the top with cling film or a piece of baking parchment. Let it cool down to room temperature.
Once everything is cool to the touch, proceed to assemble the cake.
If desired, purée the fruit prepared for the frosting so it is completely smooth, if not, whip it with an electric mixer on high for a few minutes, until lighter in texture and smoother. Take another large bowl and whip the softened butter until light and fluffy, for about 4-5 minutes. Add in the cooked fruit, and keep blending until completely smooth and uniform in colour.
Level the cakes, if needed, and place the first one on the serving platter. The frosting is firm, so the cake does not require a cake form. Place some of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a medium round nozzle and pipe a border near the edge of the cake, to keep the filling secure.
Add half of the cooked filling into the centre and level it nicely. Top with another cake layer, and repeat the process once again, using up all the fruit filling. Place the final cake layer on top and cover the sides and the top with the remaining frosting. There is plenty of frosting for a modest decoration, as well.
Place the platter into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, and serve the cake well chilled. Yields 16 rich servings.

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