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Yes, you read that title right. Don’t be alarmed. Just look at this:
|From Coronation Grape Cake|
How can that gorgeousness not be good?
This cake came about because of an impulse purchase. I spotted dusky purple grapes at the market and couldn’t resist. If you’ve wondered all your life why grape candy doesn’t taste like grapes, wonder no more–it’s modeled after grapes like these. In Canada, we have coronation grapes, which are similar to concord. They have deep purple flavour, and are much less sweet than a green or red table grape. While I know these aren’t wine grapes, they’re the first grapes I’ve ever tasted that made a grape-wine flavour connection for me. So there you go! Grapes, real, grapey grapes.
But what do you do with a grape like this? Well, I’ve got plans for sorbet, but my first thought, maybe because the grapes remind me a bit of blueberries, was cake.
This recipe is adapted from a Patricia Wells recipe, and I highly recommend it. The grapes are tart and flavourful, and I substituted some ground almonds for the flour, which gave a rich nuttiness that’s fantastic. The recipe also calls for olive oil. I’m not sure exactly what this adds to the flavour, not having tasted this cake with butter, but it makes for a great texture. This is the kind of cake I love, a dense, rustic treat that you can serve as dessert, or slice for a decadent breakfast. Plus, you get to say “would you like some grape cake?,” which at least gets people’s attention.
|From Coronation Grape Cake|
2 large eggs
2/3 cups sugar (use less if your grapes are on the sweet side–mine were quite tart), plus extra for finishing the cake
4 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (feel free to substitute flour here if you don’t have almonds, or even scale back the flour a bit and add more almond flour)
3/4 tsp baking power
a pinch of salt
zest of one lemon
2 cups flavourful grapes
Equipment: a 9″ round cake pan
Butter and flour a cake pan, then set it aside. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until they’re thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in milk, butter, oil, and vanilla.
Sift together the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. Add the zest, tossing it to make sure it is well-distributed. Then stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, making sure it is well-combined. Allow this mixture to sit for 10 minutes to make sure the flour has absorbed the liquids.
Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of grapes, then transfer the batter to your cake pan.
Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pull out your cake and top it with the reserved grapes. Sprinkle coarse granulated sugar overtop. Bake for about 40 more minutes, until the top of the cake is golden and springy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
Something else to do with grapes: check out this beautiful tart at Lottie + Doof