Friday, November 25, 2011

Too many grapes? You could make wine...

or you could make grape cake.

It happens to all of us.  Those beautiful, plump, crunchy grapes that you bring home fresh from the store lose their youth and vitality and become dull, slightly shriveled and less than optimal for eating out-of-hand as they transition their way to raisinhood. What to do with the little devils?

I went searching several months ago for a quick bread recipe that would use grapes.  I found lots of recipes that called for grape skins (thank you Finger Lake wineries of upstate New York), and an Italian grape focaccia, which is gorgeous and lovely, but requires more effort and is not the same as eating a moist, crumbly sweet cake scented with cinnamon and nutmeg, warmed gently and given a dollop of creme fraiche or cinnamon-brandy whipped cream.  Or, a simple dusting of powdered sugar.  Brandy or Pedro Ximenez sherry on the side.

Do I have your attention now?

So this is my recipe for grape cake, which is ridiculously easy to make, looks beautiful if you make individual portions in those jumbo muffin tins, or bake it in those small foil loaf pans to give away as gifts.  I always make this cake to give away and get rave reviews.  So let me know what you think after you've whipped up a batch.

Grape Cake 

3 large eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups brown sugar (you can substitute white if you wish)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3 cups seedless grapes (I like to use black, green and red for color)

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.  Beat together eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla until light and smooth.
3.  Mix together remaining ingredients except for grapes and fold dry ingredients into egg and oil mixture until well-blended.  Batter will be stiff; do not beat or cake will be tough.
4.  Gently fold in grapes.
5.  Spoon batter into two greased and floured loaf pans, five smaller loaf pans, two round cake pans or muffin tins.
6.  Bake large loaf pans 1 hour; smaller loaf pans 40-45 minutes, cake pans 35-40 minutes and muffin tins 25-30 minutes.
7.  Test for doneness by inserting toothpick, which should come out with just a few crumbs clinging.  Cool for about 30 minutes, then carefully remove from pans.  Garnish as desired; serve warm for best flavor.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there!

    Must one wait for the grapes to begin the journey to raisinhood for best results, or can the grapes be fresh?