By Holly Taylor, Chef, Kindling Restaurant
At Kindling Restaurant in Brighton, we are constantly evolving the menu to reflect whatever is local and in season. It’s a lot of fun but also a lot of work developing new recipes and constantly innovating. As a chef I absolutely love it when I find a recipe that is endlessly versatile. Something that delivers on taste and texture but can be easily adapted to wonderful new produce.
Towards the end of the Summer, I decided I wanted to put a cake on the menu, something that was special enough to be worthy of dessert – moist, dancing with flavour and comforting. A cake that would pair just as well with a sweet late harvest chardonnay, as with a rich dark espresso.
This is the autumnal version of that cake, perfect comfort food for those colder months. Rich and sticky, it is equally good served with custard, crème fraiche or ice cream.
For the pears
For the cake
To make the cake
One of the reasons I love this cake is that there are so many different variations. It’s a wonderful vehicle to showcase whatever fruit is in season.
In the autumn it works well with both apples and pears. It will work especially well if you choose a variety that is firm and a little bit tart, for example a Braeburn apple.
In the winter I recommend trying it with 2-3 thinly sliced oranges or blood orange. Instead of making a caramel sauce, you want to cook the orange slices in sugar syrup for 15 mins until the rinds are beginning to turn translucent - Put 200g sugar and 120ml water in a large saucepan set over a medium heat; stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the orange slices (minus any seeds) and bring to a gentle simmer. Then layer the syrupy oranges in the cake tin instead of the pears.
In spring try using sticks bright pink forced rhubarb as the base. No need for caramel, just sprinkle the bottom of the cake pan with 30g of sugar and 15g of butter, then arrange the rhubarb before topping with the cake mix.
In summer this cake is fabulous topped with berries – blueberries and blackberries both work well and don’t require any caramel or added sugar. You’ll need about 400-500g of berries and it’s best to gently squash them into the bottom of the cake tin using a potato masher so everything cooks evenly.
For a Halloween twist you can use summer berry mix as the topping and add red food dye to the cake for a gruesome looking centrepiece.
Whatever the season or occasion this cake is winner and sure to be a firm favourite with family and guests.
Holly Taylor is co-chef and co-founder of Kindling Restaurant in Brighton. Kindling is about more than just the delicious food, it is a community of people: staff, customers and suppliers all sharing and celebrating local produce. Nature writes the menu as the seasons inspire the dishes. Kindling is featured in the Michelin Guide and is a member of the Sustainable Restaurants Association.
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