I think it will be a while until there is local fruit available in the supermarkets. But what to do when a craving hits? Well, I used the best of what I think of as seasonally springtime fruit: strawberries and rhubarb. I know they’re not from around here, but the results were still very good. It’s just a little tea cake, swirled with fruit preserves, topped with almonds, and finished with a little powdered sugar. You can use any type of jam or preserves that you like, and if you have homemade, that’s even better.
Strawberries and rhubarb are the best of flavor pals. Mix a little strawberry jam and rhubarb compote together for a delicious combo to swirl through your cake.
I made two 6-inch cakes**; much more practical for our small family. You could also use an 8-inch springform or 8-inch square pan.
Shower the finished cake(s) with a little powdered sugar, if you like.
Jam Tea Cake
(makes one 8-inch or two 6-inch cakes)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of fine sea salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream, full fat yogurt, or buttermilk
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1/2 to 2/3 cup thick fruit jam or preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour the pan(s) of your choice and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the butter, eggs, sour cream, and extract; blend well with a whisk. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy (the batter will be a little thick). Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan(s). Cover with spoonfuls of jam, dropping it evenly over the surface. Use a butter knife to swirl the jam into the batter, inserting it straight down to the bottom of the pan. Be sure the jam is distributed well into the cake batter so that it doesn’t just sit on the top surface. Sprinkle with the almonds. Bake in the preheated oven until the cake tests done, about 40 to 45 minutes for the 8-inch pan and 25 to 30 minutes for the 6-inch pans. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan(s). Serve warm, with tea (or coffee).
(adapted minimally from “The Art of Quick Breads” by Beth Hensperger)
**I used 6-inch, loose-bottom cake tins from Fat Daddio’s.