Friday, December 23, 2011

Italian Purple Grape Cake (The 10th Sweet of Christmas)

I stumbled on this recipe a couple years ago out of necessity.  My mother-in-law had bought some little purple grapes (which I now know are seedless Concord grapes) at our local farm market.  But they were very ripe, and I had too many left to eat before they spoiled.

Enter Italian fresh purple grape cake.

This is awesome at any time of year, but the seedless Concord grapes are only available in the fall (at least in my area).  However, if you wash and dry the grapes off the vines, they freeze very well in containers or ziplock bags.  Just measure and defrost when you need them.

With some fresh homemade whipped cream on top, and perhaps a sprig of fresh mint, this can be a very festive and different dessert for your holiday table.

After beating the eggs and sugar together, add the butter, vanilla, oil and milk.  Sift in the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.  Set it aside to rest for ten minutes.  A quick note - the recipe calls for the zest of a lemon and an orange, but I didn't have either of those available the first time I made this cake.  I did have orange and lemon juices, however, and turns out substituting the same amount of juices for the zest called for in the original recipe works just fine.  I mix it in with the liquids before I add the dry ingredients.

Stir in 3/4 of the grapes.

Prepare your spring form pan with butter and flour.  Bake on 350 for fifteen minutes.  It will look like this:

Sprinkle the remaining grapes over the top and return the cake to the oven for another forty minutes.  Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then release the spring form ring and let the cake cool on the bottom of the pan on a wire rack.

You should serve the cake at room temperature and is definitely better the day it's made.  I spread some fresh whipped cream over the top last time I made it.  It "dressed it up" a bit.  But you could also dust it with powdered sugar or just enjoy it plain.

Leftovers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.

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