Gluten-Free Stone Fruit Cake – Make the most of the season!
Making the most of the summer season’s stone fruits, I usually bake several trays of this cake to eat on the spot or freeze for those dull winter days when I miss eating these fruits.
In fact, I brought a couple of slices along for my recent train trip from Vienna to Berlin. They travel well and were eyed up enviously by fellow passengers!
Austrians are crazy for apricots, but for good reasons, they are the best! What sets them apart is their plumpness and exquisite sweetness, which has no comparison to other varieties. I don’t speak much German, but the one word you will not get past noticing is Marillen (apricots) as it is everywhere at the shops, markets and on restaurant menus. You’ll find it in jam, syrups, inside sweet dumplings, marillenknödel, schnapps & liqueurs, drink cordial, chutneys, pickles, vinegar, in pastries and chocolate cakes like the famous Sacher cake, a savoury sauce to a meat dish or simply sold in abundance at the farmers’ markets in Spring and Summer.
Austria’s Wachau Region
It helps that apricots grow well in Austria, especially from the Wachau region (80 km west of Vienna) where the highly regarded white grape is also grown for Austria’s unique Grüner Veltliner wine. The soil in the Wachau valley is rich in loess; a silty soil known to be one of the most fertile in farming. Wachau lies along the Danube River, giving it that special microclimate to grow the best apricots in the world. In fact, the term “Wachau apricot” is a designation of origin protected by the EU. There’s even an annual Wachau apricot festival from July to August to honour the beloved marillen! If you ever come to Austria, try to come in Spring when some 100,000 apricot trees transform Wachau into a fragrant pink-white sea of blossom. You can easily visit Wachau by bicycle or on a river cruise through the region – the perfect way to enjoy this blossoming landscape in this wonderful part of the world!
Gluten-Free Stone Fruit Cake
STONE FRUIT CAKE
- 180 g butter, at room temperature
- 170 g light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 120 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (leave this out if your store-bought flour already has xanthan gum)
- 150 g ground almonds
- 50 ml thick or Greek yoghurt
- 100 ml milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 orange, using zest & juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced in wedges
- 2 ripe apricots, pitted and sliced in wedges
- 2 plums, pitted and sliced in wedges
- 45 g slivered almonds, with skin or removed
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
STONE FRUIT CAKE
- Gather all the stone fruit cake ingredients together.
- Mix the milk and lemon juice together. Cover and set aside to curdle slightly.
- Line a square 20 cm by 20 cm cake pan with baking paper.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light.
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time with a tablespoon of flour.
- Add the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, ground almonds, yoghurt and milk mixture. Fold everything together gently.
- Add the orange juice, zest, and vanilla extract. Gently mix to combine.
- Gently spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan.
- Arrange the stone fruit slices and slivered almonds in rows.
- Complete the four rows with alternating stone fruit slices.
- Bake for 40 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
GLAZING THE STONE FRUIT CAKE
- Gently heat the orange juice and jam in a small saucepan until the jam has melted. Whisk well and if necessary, sieve the warm mixture for a smooth glaze.
- While the cake is warm, brush the entire top of the cake with the glaze.
- Allow the cake to cool before cutting into slices.
- Serve the cake in generous slices either warm or cold with some whipped cream, custard sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Keeps for 3 days
- Suitable to freeze cut into slices