Experimenting with alternative ways to sweeten desserts can get really interesting because the alternatives can change or add flavours, and enrichen the cake instead of plainly adding sweetness as the traditional white sugar does. This recipe is a perfect example of this: the dates in the quark add flavour, texture and of course nutritional values. The flavourful spicy fruity swirl gives you an opportunity to get creative, and decorate the cake to make it strikingly beautiful.
This is a really light dessert presented as a luxurious cake. It`s low on fats, as only the bottom has butter and the filling is made with the low fat quark, which I was talking about in an earlier post. The filling gets its structure from eggs mixed inside and is sweetened by not only honey but also the natural sweetness of dried dates and fresh fruit. As I wanted to make the cake gluten free I did not use pre-made cookies for the dough, but replaced it with home made cookie dough from brown rice flour. If you have some good quality cookies at home feel free to skip the part of baking cookies and just crumble the ready ones (250 grams) with the 40 grams of butter and the grated almond.
During the summer the markets are loaded with fresh nectarines and several different sorts of colorful plums with diverse tastes and textures. As I completely fell in love with this recipe, I had to try different variations. In the end I could not decide on the winner (because both of them are so incredible) so I decided to sahre two variations of this cake, sunny yellow with nectarines and saffron and a deep blue-purple marbled by spiced plums. (All right, maybe this is actually the top 3, because the Chocolte-Cointreau cake is from the same bunch, but it is a little less on the fruity-natural side, so I dedicated a seprte post to it).
Additionally, as a bonus after the recipe you can see one styling step by step that I used with the nectarine cake. But I would like to encourage you to let your imagination free and try different ways to marble!
Ingredients (makes 10-12 slices):
- 60+40g butter (at room temperature) + some for greasing
- 120g brown rice flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 40g grated almonds
- 750g quark
- 4 eggs
- 1 organic orange (zest of the whole and juice of the half)
- 300g dried dates
- 2 tablespoons of honey
Nectarine marbles for variation 1
- 3 nectarines (stone removed, diced)
- small pinch of saffron and nutmeg
- 1/4 tablespoon of powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
Plum marbles for variation 2
- 3 blue plums (stone removed, diced)
- 1 tablespoon of blueberries (for the extra blue colour)
- small pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of grated cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
Start with preheating the oven to 180 °C. To make the cookies, mix flour with 60 grams of soft butter using your hands. Then add egg and make it into a smooth mixture, line a baking sheet with baking paper and spread the dough coarsely so that it is not thicker than 1 cm (it does not have to be pretty, since you will have to crumble it soon anyways). Bake cookie dough in the oven for 10 minutes, then let it cool enough so you can crumble it into a large bowl by hand. Add almonds and the rest of the butter and mix with your hands until there are no big lumps of butter left while keeping it crumbly. Line a 24 cm spring form with baking parchment and eavenly spread the dough on the bottom pushing down with your fingers and pre-bake it in 10 minutes.
While it`s baking soak dates in lukewarm water, after about 20 minutes drain and tip it into a blender (you can keep the water and use it for smoothies, compotes or porridge) and blitz until you get a smooth texture with some pieces from the skin of the fruit. Whisk quark, eggs, orange zest and juice, honey and dates in a large bowl and pour the mixture on top of the crust.
For variation one blitz nectarines with spices until smooth with some small pieces of skin.
For variation two blitz plums, blueberries and spices until smooth with some small pieces of skin.
Carefully spoon or pour fruit pulp on top of the kwark filling. Marble the cake by pulling a knife of spoon through the filling, be careful that you don`t scratch or cut the crust. (See one decration idea below.)
Bake for 30 minutes and then leave in the oven for an hour. At this moment the middle can still look like it`s not completely solid, but it will still get firmer. Let it cool down to room temperature in a few hours. Cover and set it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until serving. Remove from springform before serving, if you see that it is sticking to the form help it off with a knife, carefully that you don`t scratch the metal. It`s best to make this a day ahead and just let the tastes get together overnight.
Note: On the pictures of the plum cake you can see smaller cake where I decreased the portion by 2/3 (using 2 eggs) baked in a 18 cm springform.
- Spoon small dots in a circular form and in the middle:
2. With a thin spoon or blunt knife go through in a circle forming leaves:
3. Pull the corners of the leaves out to create pointy edges. Pull the dot in the middle out as a star (with a curl) , adding more fruit pulp to the middle if needed. In the kwark going in the direction of the middle make the points of the star longer and sharper: