European-Style Buckwheat Cake

Known as schwarzplententorte in German or torta di granosaraceno in Italian, this wonderfully moist and dense cake is usually eaten for breakfast together with a big cup of coffee—or as a morning or afternoon snack.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
2¼ cups buckwheat flour
2¼ cups almonds, skins on if possible, pulverised into almond meal
1 apple, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Your favorite berry preserves
Powdered sugar

Method:
1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks and beat until pale and creamy. Add the buckwheat, almond meal, grated apple and vanilla extract until just combined.

2. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold in, bit by bit, into the batter until well combined and pour batter into a greased and lined round baking tin.

3. Bake at 350º for about 50 minutes or until the cake is deep golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, remove cake from tin and slice in half lengthways. Spread the bottom layer with a healthy spreading of jam and replace the top layer. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

Irish Apple Cake

Spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, this delicious apple cake is sure to be a new favorite.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 apples, cored, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon each vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Generously grease an 8-inch square cake pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, apples, nuts, and vanilla and stir well. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 45 minutes, until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cake set in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Polenta Cake with Italian Plums

This luscious cake is kissed with juicy Italian plums and citrus peel.

Ingredients:
4 Italian plums, pitted and cut into wedges
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks, plus 2 full eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
Crème fraîche for serving (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan; line bottom with a 9-inch circle of parchment paper. Arrange plums on parchment in pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over the plums. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and beat until light. Add egg yolks and eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add lemon peel and vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Spoon batter over plums in pan and spread evenly.

4. Bake about 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan; cool cake completely. Invert cake onto serving platter; remove bottom of pan and parchment. If desired, serve with crème fraîche.

F&L Summer Fruit Cake

Moist and incredibly flavorful, this summer fruit cake comes together in just minutes!

Ingredients:
F&L summer fruit cake mix
2 eggs
2 cups of summer fruit or berries, diced if needed

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, diced fruit or berries, stirring well to combine.

2. Pour batter into a greased cake pan and back for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.

Variation: This is also lovely baked in a cast-iron pan as an upside down cake. For this method, melt ⅓ cup butter and ⅓ cup sugar in a cast iron pan over medium-low heat, then pour in the mixed cake batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and invert the pan on a rimmed plate. Let sit 5 minutes then carefully remove the pan from the cake.

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