A grape cake has been at the forefront of my mind for a bit. A while back, I found some deeply flavoursome muscat grapes in a little greengrocer in our neighbourhood. Unable to resist – for they are not too easy to come by in London – I bought quite a lot and decided to bake with part of them. This gloriously purple, slightly messy thing you see pictured was the happy outcome.
The cake is lovely, and really quite simple. Even made with spelt flour, it is moist and beautifully perfumed. Perhaps the only less-than-perfect side is that the grapes tend to fall to the bottom – the batter is quite loose – making it more similar to an upside down cake than a, well, a coffee cake. I don’t mind it, but I should warn you in case you care about presentation…it might take some imagination, or, like in this case, hydrangeas.
Finally, a note on the grapes. Unfortunately, seedless grapes wouldn’t do the cake much justice. Best would be to use aromatic red varieties such as Muscat or Fragolino (Concord). White varieties like Chasselas or Sultana would work a charm, too, but they’ll all inevitably have seeds. If you don’t like the idea of crunchy seeds in your cake, perhaps try a different fruit altogether – all sorts of berries make a fine substitution.
Muscat Grape Cake
Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F. Brush a 23 cm/ 9-inch springform pan with olive oil and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar at length, until creamy and pale yellow. Stir in the oil and yoghurt. Add lemon zest, vanilla, and the wine and whisk to combine.
Pour the wet ingredient over the dry and fold through until just combined, trying not to overwork the batter. Pour it into the prepared baking dish, then scatter the grapes all over the surface.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is set and deeply golden and the cake is cooked through – test it with a skewer. Let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then release the run a knife all around the edges and under the bottom and free from the springform. Finish cooling it on a rack, then dust with icing sugar and serve.