salted caramel summer fruit torte

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Making salted caramel sauce is becoming something of a weekly habit; it’s no skin off my nose given I generally have sugar, cream and butter on hand. I find any kind of cooking involving the heating of sugar moderately terrifying (re: burns and ruined saucepans), however I’m becoming much more comfortable with bringing it to a gentle simmer over the stove, and so now I find whipping up a jar of it rewardingly satisfying. I wouldn’t be so bold as to say I’ve perfected it – but I’m determined to, and therefore have popped a candy thermometer on my list of things to treat myself to come payday. In any case – I’m coping reasonably well in the meantime.

This cake was effectively rustled up based on things I had on hand, and is by no means limited to summer fruit. I think it would work great with apple segments, and perhaps some toasted walnuts, and I initially brought it to work as a plum variety. Both disappeared on night shift in less than an hour: incredibly pleasing given it takes barely any time to whip up. I didn’t expect something so easy would produce such a glorious result, and this is absolutely going to be on heavy rotation with every kind of fruit variation I can think of.

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Salted caramel sauce (enough for the cake plus extra)

  • 50ml water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 30g butter
  • 125ml cream
  • Pinch of rock salt

For the torte itself:

  • 125g butter, softened but not melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, free range and room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 4 nectarines, halved and stoned
  • 5 strawberries, sliced, plus extra for serving
  • A few generous spoonfuls of the salted caramel sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Icing sugar for dusting

To prepare the salted caramel sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to boil, stirring until the granules have dissolved. Once the sugar mixture is syrupy and gently boiling, cease stirring and continue heating until it turns golden.
  2. Remove from heat and immediately add the butter and sugar and whisk vigorously. It will bubble up and look messy initially – don’t panic, just keep stirring. Leave to cool.
  3. Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks if intending on storing for use later.

For the torte:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C bake setting. Grease but do not line a 23cm springform cake pan with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric hand-mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, along with the vanilla essence. Gently beat the flour, sesame seeds and baking powder through until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the greased cake tin. If the salted caramel sauce has solidified, heat a few spoonfuls gently in the microwave to make it liquid again. Drop blobs haphazardly over the batter and swirl with a bamboo skewer to create a marble effect.
  4. Top the mix with the halved nectarines around the border, skin side up, then arrange the strawberries in the middle. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the fruit, then sprinkle with cinnamon and extra sugar.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes until cooked through. Cool on a wire rack before transferring to serving plate.
  6. To serve, dust with icing sugar, top with extra strawberries and drizzle with more warm caramel sauce.

No idea how long this would stay decent for – it disappeared within 6 hours of baking!

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