Moelleux aux fruits d’ete
8-10 servings
Inspired by French food writer and journalist François-Régis Gaudry I liked the apricots and plums in this “Soft Cake of Summer Fruits (fruits d’été)” so recommend using those, especially if you like fruits on the tart side, although nectarines, peaches, cherries or berries would work, too. I made this a few times and definitely prefer this with the mix of almond- and all-purpose flour. The ground almonds (almond flour) are really delicious in the dessert, but if you can’t get ground almonds (sometimes called almond meal or almond flour), you can use 1 1/4 cups (175g) of all-purpose flour in place of the mix. NOTES: The picture in the post of the batter shows 3 eggs being added, and I took that photo while testing the recipe, which I did a few times. The final recipe I came up with, below, uses 2 eggs. Also, I’m posting this while on vacation and originally omitted the sugar. I didn’t bring my testing notes on vacation but remember it being the amount (1 1/4 cups) listed below, but you could use more or less as it’s a very adaptable cake. (The original recipe that inspired this one called for 330g, or 1 2/3 cups of sugar, with slightly more fruit and batter.) But if you want to wait to make the recipe until I return, I’ll update the recipe in September if necessary.
1 1/2 pounds (680g) apricots or plums (or another summer fruit, see headnote)
3/4 cup (110g) almond flour
1/2 cup (65g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (230g) granulated sugar
5 ounces (140g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse granulated brown sugar, such as tubinado sugar (or granulated white sugar)
1. Halve the fruit and remove the pits. Slice the fruit into 3/4- to 1-inch (2-3cm) wedges. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.) Grease a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan very well with butter or non-stick spray. (If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use another cake pan but it may be harder to get the cake out so you may want to also line the bottom with parchment paper.)
2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. (My preferred tool to use for this step is a silicone spatula.) Add the soft butter and mix it in with the spatula until it’s broken up into little pieces, roughly the size of kernels of corn. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract, until it’s almost smooth. It’s fine if there are small pieces of butter visible.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the wedges of fruit on their sides in concentric circles over the batter, snugly placing the wedges against each other, pressing them gently into the batter as you go. Avoid putting them right up against the sides of the pan. It’s best to leave some room for the batter to rise between the fruit and the pan, to avoid juices from the fruit adhering to the sides of the pan as the moelleux bakes. (It’s unavoidable – and natural – if using juicy fruits, like plums, to have juice run out. But placing the slices not right up against the sides of the pan will help you get the cake out of the pan later.)
4. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the top and bake until the center just feels set; a toothpick inserted into the center should come out free of cake crumbs stuck to it, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack. If any fruit juices have bubbled up and stuck to the sides of the pan, run a knife around the outside of the cake, which will help it release later.

Notes: If you want to make this gluten-free, I’d go with the almond flour rendition, and use a gluten-free flour substitute in place of the wheat flour. If you want to reduce the sugar in the recipe, you could cut it by 6 tablespoons/75g and skip the sugar on top, although I wouldn’t.