I would say that, by and large, cakes are meant for special occasions only. Chimney cakes are for very special occasions, and tree cakes are for very, very special occasions. There are exceptions, to be sure! But you can't really whip out a homemade baumkuchen and claim it was a just-because-i-felt-like-it cake.
Here is my go-to recipe for an unpretentious cake, welcome at any table for any reason. I bake this all the time, with all varieties of fruit, for all varieties of events. Certain aspects of the cake that give it an Old World feel—namely, the texture, the appearance, and the use of Lactobacillus cultures as a leavening agent. Yeah, when was the last time you saw that in a recipe from the last fifty years? I like to make up a story to go with the cake, like one where I found my great-grandmother's recipe cards in longhand Yiddish, and I was the only one in the family who cared enough to find what secrets they held, and I had to enlist the aid of the septuagenarian delicatessen proprietor down the street. In truth, it's just some mods from a 2002 recipe by BBC Good Food. I changed the leavening agent to yogurt because I'm a goofball.
Sam's any-fruit, any-occasion cake
- 175 g almond meal
- 175 g all-purpose flour
- 175 g sugar
- 175 g butter, softened (about 1.5 sticks)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 250 mL active culture yogurt (about 8 oz)
- 400+ g fruit (your choice!)
- Preheat oven to 160 °C (355 °F).
- Mix the non-fruit ingredients well. If there are little chunks of butter, it's just fine. The batter should be thick and not pourable.
- Spoon half the batter into a well-greased 9 inch cake round or pie pan. Lay down a layer of fruit pieces, then spoon in the rest of the batter. Maybe put extra fruit on top, if you have it.
- Gorge on the raw batter because it's sooooo gooooood
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. The crust will probably turn golden brown by the 30-minute mark; at that point, cover it with foil so it doesn't char on top.
- Let cool completely. Serve with love!
Golly, this makes me want to bake another one already! I'm thinking I'll use kiwi fruit and strawberry yogurt.