I remember I used to like the tutti frutti (candied mixed fruits) cakes when I was a child. But then I got to know too soon that the tutti frutti bits were no fruits but just colored and candied papaya bits. And then I never had a tutti frutti cake even in my childhood after the grim discovery. I would pick and discard any colored bits that were put into foods afterwards, I remember some people used to add those candied bits into pulavs and custard trifles back then. There was an ice cream flavor by this name too. How I hated all of that. Tutti frutti in it's real form was never encountered till I made my own, that too by serendipity.
The mosaic pattern that those candied fruit brings was always fascinating. Somehow it stayed in my mind and when I started cooking on my own I found out a way to bring about that effect in my cakes.
I keep making small amounts of jams and apple or pear butter all the time. Mostly when I buy fruits in bulk and some of the leftovers get all wrinkly and sad and no one wants them as fresh fruits. Wrinkled apples and pears make nice sweet butter as their juices have already reduced. Likewise wrinkled plums also make good jam. But I am talking bout making jams, keeping them in small jars and refrigerating them till I find 3-4 or more jars pushed behind all the fresh produce. We don't eat much jam ourselves, some is gifted away and some leftovers are bottled and refrigerated as I make them with minimal sugar and no preservation. Most such jams get dehydrated while they are in the fridge and make a good chunk of fruit leather. See how chunky the apple butter gets and how I chop it and use in my cakes...
This way I have something really useful for the cakes that I bake in a hurry.
Oh I do bake cakes in hurry when someone is visiting or we have to visit someone on short notice. I just chop those jam turned fruit leathers in different flavors and colors and add it to the cake batter. Some fresh fruit is added for bringing a moist texture and the cakes are way better than that artificially colored tutti frutti.
Otherwise the cake is just a basic recipe. This time I used maida and whole wheat both in equal amounts, some fresh tart plums and a mix of these fruit leathers and preserves.
maida (all purpose flour) 1 cup
atta (whole wheat flour) 1 cup
chopped fresh fruit 1 cup (I used tart plums)
chopped mixed fruit leathers or jelly or dehydrated jam total 1 cup or more
olive oil or sunflower oil 1 scant cup
sugar 1 scant cup
buttermilk 1/4 cup or a little more
baking powder 1.5 tsp
baking soda 1/2 tsp
salt 2 pinches
I did not use any fruit or vanilla extract in this fruit as there was enough fruit to make the cake flavorful. Use good quality extracts if doing so.
Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and keep side.
Line a baking dish of 9" diameter with parchment paper. Keep aside.
Mix the oil, eggs and sugar together and whip to mix. Add the chopped fresh fruit and chopped bits of dehydrated fruits/jam and preserve. Mix well.
Add the flour mix to this wet mix and fold the batter nicely with a light hand. Add the buttermilk to make the batter loose, add more if required. The batter is a little thicker than ribbon consistency.
Pour into the baking pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 50-55 minutes on middle rack. Check once after 35 minutes and place on the lower rack if the crust is browning too much.
Check with a skewer if the cake is done in the middle.
Let it cool or cut wedges when the cake is still warm. Take care if it is too hot to handle.
The slices are dotted with the colors of fruit and fruit preserves used. The taste is awesome if you like fruits. All fruit preserves and fresh fruits added impart their own flavors that remain enclosed in those tiny pockets and you get a different fruit in each bite.
The little girl who was in a mood to have a chocolate cake that day, enjoyed the brownie cake better. This cake was enjoyed by everyone else including the teenage sister of the little girl.
I gave away a large portion of this cake but the smaller portion that I kept at home for Arvind thinking he would have it over the week, he finished it having it for breakfast over two consecutive days. Such cake lovers I have around me.
No wonder I think of cakes when I have some extra fruit at home, when I have some extra fruit preserve or some sun dried fruit too. A jar of sun dried apricots is waiting for it's turn now. All this when I myself don't enjoy cakes much.
But you know well I love playing with ingredients. Simple recipes turn into show stoppers if you just combine the flavors well.