It was a warm summer morning. Two of the kids were outside picking wildflowers with one of our California visitors. I was in the kitchen slicing ripe nectarines while the stand mixer worked, creaming together butter and sugar, transforming them into what would soon be cake batter. Once the batter was in the pan, I placed the nectarines onto its surface, followed by blueberries, and got my camera out to begin photographing.
Suddenly, the pleasantness of the morning was interrupted as my 11-year-old came running into the house shouting with urgency. Words flew out of his mouth like rapid fire — I needed to get in the car and come help because they had encountered a herd of caribou while walking in the neighborhood.
I set down my camera, left the cake unbaked on the table, and got immediately into the car to rescue my daughter and our friend down the road. When we got everyone back into the cabin safe and sound, I popped the cake into the oven as we listened to their caribou tale.
By the time the frenzy was over, the cake was golden and ready. It's likely that I'll never again be able to make a cake topped with fresh fruit without thinking of the summer the caribou herd came to visit.
Blueberry nectarine cake
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 nectarines, sliced
6 ounces blueberries
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling over fruit
Powdered sugar for dusting the cake
Whipped cream for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper, then spray the paper with non-stick spray also.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on a high speed for about 90 seconds, until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and continue beating. Incorporate the vanilla and sour cream until smooth.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat gently until it just comes together and becomes a thick batter, being careful not to over mix.
Scrape the side of the bowl as needed. Carefully spread the batter evenly into the prepared springform pan with an offset spatula. Lay the nectarine slices over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with blueberries and lightly press all of the fruit into the batter. Sprinkle all of the fruit with 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked through in the center. Allow the cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before releasing the cake from the springform pan and removing the parchment paper. Dust the cake with powdered sugar before slicing and serve with freshly whipped cream.
Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email email@example.com and your inquiry may appear in a future column.