I am not an enthusiastic baker or consumer of baked goods, but occasionally a recipe catches my eye and I simply have to try it. When I bought Ottolenghi’s Sweet I made a mental note that there must bake this cake using sweet wine and grapes this summer. I also dislike sugary sweet frostings, so this cake ticked another box for me.
Add a small bottle of wine….
The recipe calls for a French sweet wine, Beaumes de Venise, made from the Muscat grape and originates from the village Beaumes in the Rhone Valley. It is a pale red fortified wine famous for its balance of sweetness, full Muscat fruit flavour and gentle acidity.
In the Cape we have Red Muscadel, a delicious sweet wine, not dissimilar to its French counterpart. I naturally chose to use it rather than its pricey French cousin. We also have a delicious selection of seedless grapes in full season now!
The cake pan
Ottolenghi suggests that this recipe is made in a chiffon cake pan (a deep pan with a funnel in the centre) in order to ensure that it bakes evenly, but I have chosen to use two loaf pans instead. This works perfectly and makes it easier to slice. This recipe can easily make 4 small loaf pans and I found that it freezes beautifully. If you don’t need so much, the recipe could be halved.
Add the topping after 20 minutes!
It is a rather unusual cake recipe as you par bake it, then remove it from the oven to add the grape and sugary topping, before returning it to the oven for the final bake.
I used dark red and black skinned grapes to give maximum eye appeal.
The cake is rich and moist and keeps for a few days, making it an ideal family coffee cake!
If you want to add richness, you can serve it with a dollop of lightly whipped cream.