I have read many British recipes over the years that use the term squidgy to describe a cake. It is not perhaps the most literate of terms, but it is perfectly descriptive. I know exactly what it means – soft and moist and rich, dense but in the best possible way. This is a squidgy cake. The almond flour and marzipan add the delicious nutty density while the nectarine slices add a sweet – tart earthiness that is perfect for summer. I think nectarines are an underappreciated fruit. A local orchard produces absolutely gorgeous ones and I can’t resist buying them, so I find myself looking for creative ways to use them (though slicing them and eating them on there own is a perfectly glorious summer treat). Check out my Nectarine and Lemon Balm Cake or Nectarine, Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Flatbread for some more ideas.
Stone fruits and almond are a wonderful pairing. I use marzipan here because it has a sweeter, slightly more delicate almond taste, creating great pops of almond in the squidgy batter. I find tubes of marzipan readily in the baking aisle, but if almond paste is all you can find, it works as well but will cut some sweetness in the finished product. Peaches or plum will work equally as well, but do give nectarines a chance. This delicious bake can be served for breakfast, as a snack or dessert, in which case you could add a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
Nectarine Marzipan Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups almond meal
7 ounces marzipan
4 medium nectarines
¼ cup sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons honey
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13- inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer one medium high to break it up, then add the sugar and almond extract and beat until smooth, light and creamy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition before adding the next and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and almond meal and beat on medium speed until completely combined, again scraping the bowl as needed. Chop the marzipan into small pieces (you can use a knife or break it apart with your fingers) and beat it into the batter at medium high speed. Its is fine to see some pieces of marzipan. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Half and pit the nectarines and slice about ¼ of an inch thick, then arrange them on top of the batter in neat rows, barely overlapping. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top, then bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Heat the honey in the microwave or a small pan just to loosen it up, then brush it over the warm cake. Leave to cool, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, slice and serve.