Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Red Grape Cake

 John Steinbeck quotes (American Novelist and Writer, Nobel Prize for Literature for 1962, 1902-1968)

I have a small baking job this weekend. I'm freaking out. Cookies for the  pre-wedding bridal party. You know, or not know, the time the girls get together right before the ceremony. (Apparently they are hungry). It is only for 30 people..small. However, I am just not ready. I have no business cards, or name, logo. Only ideas. These ideas have swirled @ in my head for soo long, I'm dizzy. IT is a great opportunity and will force me to  finally get moving into this "JOB". 


I say job "lightly" because I really have another job. I am a Physical Therapist. I guess I like working with my hands. :) The jump from medical professional to business woman terrifies me. I can bake, and I know a lot of recipes. I have refined taste.  It is all the in between-- time, costing recipes, money management. 


Enough venting-- Let's talk sweets! That is what you are here for right? 


While watching TV, Chef Alex Guarnaschelli was making a warm grape cake. ( Her name is difficult to spell)  I love her show Alex's Day Off. She describes everything with passion, I want to eat everything she makes and bakes. However, this is not hers I baked today. OOOPS! It is from the ""other cooking channel".Though dated, I do find some gems. This recipe is from Chef Laura Calder..she is Canadian! (GASP!)..but lives and studies in France. WHEEEW! http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/web-interview-french-food-at-home-with-laura-calder. All kidding, aside I have baked a couple of her recipes and they have been miam-miam! I have yet to bake any of Alex's.


You can now understand my terror with owning a business...I just can't seem to focus. I am the "I love Lucy" of business. ( Yet, Lucille Ball was a powerhouse in Hollywood business. ) I bow to her. 


 grape stomping episode--classic



Small seedless grapes. Stemmed,  washed and dried

 A very good fruity olive oil

 Red Grape Cake 

Courtesy of Laura Calder, French Food at Home


  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , more for brushing
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar, more for sprinkling I used Turbinado . I like the crunchy texture
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9 ounces seedless red grapes, more to taste (optional) Caution-some can be tart


  1. Heat oven to 350°F/180°C. Rub a 9-inch/23-cm spring-form pan with olive oil and line the bottom with a parchment paper.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick, pale and ribbon-y. Mix in the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and the orange zest. Add the flour and stir to combine. Beat the egg whites with the salt to soft peaks and gently fold into the batter. Fold in half the grapes. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining grapes onto the top of the cake and continue to bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. (This is done so all the grapes to not sink to the bottom ) Cool on a rack, then unmould. Brush the top generously extra virgin olive oil and scatter over coarse sugar.
My changes:

1. I recommend folding all the grapes in to the batter at once. I did add them in a two step process, but I did not like the holes it made in the batter, in appearance  when slicing.

See the holes I was talking about?..YUK!

2. Once cooled and removed from the pan, FLIP OVER CAKE, brush with olive oil and sprinkle sugar. You will see this lovely  smooth grape  studded top. Next time, I will place the grapes in the pan first, make a design, then pour batter over the top.  Unmold ..Voila! a nice decoration, already in place :)

3. My cake cooked very quickly on convection -@ 30 minutes--so watch it closely.

 The texture of the cake is a moist and custard-y A hint of citrus. I love the little squish of  grape guts (juice) that pops into your mouth when eating. This is a keeper. I am eating it now for breakfast .


 Warm Grape Cake 
Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli


This cake is very simple to put together but you have to respect 1 rule: temperature. It is critical that the butter, eggs, milk and olive oil all be at room temperature when you begin making this batter.


  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for pan, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon, sifted, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh seedless grapes, stemmed, washed, dried and halved, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 small ginger knob, peeled and grated, about 1 heaping tablespoon

  • Special equipment: 1 (9-inch) round springform pan or 1 (9-inch) glass baking dish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Thoroughly grease the bottom and sides of the cake pan with some extra softened butter. Pour the batter into the pan and slide it into the center of the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool. Detach the outside of the springform pan, using the bottom as a plate for the cake to finish cooling.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cream, confectioners' sugar and almond extract until soft peaks form. Set the topping aside.

Add the honey to a small saute pan and bring it to a light simmer over low heat. Once it bubbles, thickens and turns light brown after about 2 to 3 minutes, add in the grated ginger and remaining grapes. Switch off the heat and allow the glaze to cool. Serve slices of the cake with some of the grape-ginger mixture spooned over and a dollop of the whipped cream. 



  1. oh my gosh i totally just watched that I Love Lucy, LOVE it, this sounds so frickin delicious

  2. Cest la Vie! Thanks for stopping in :)

  3. I love the density of this cake! I've never made a grape (red or otherwise) cake, but it looks delicious and PRETTY!

    Hooray for "I love Lucy" :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I appreciate your comment:)