Tag Archives: grapes

Italian Fresh Purple Grape Cake

I was so excited earlier in the week – I found a lovely recipe for grape cake – a simple cake, with fruit, and just a touch of powdered sugar on top.  My kind of cake – no icing!  I bought my grapes and was prepared to make it this weekend – and couldn’t find my recipe!  Where did it go?  I thought for sure it was in the new Mediterranean cookbook I paid full price for at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at the end of December.  Let me just say, it was worth the money!  But it did not have the grape cake recipe.  I checked through a few of my other cookbooks at home – no luck.  Where did I see it?  I remember well the beautiful picture – my mouth salivated at just the thought of a tiny piece!  I thought perhaps it was in one of the two cookbooks I bought at the half-price bookstore last week – when my sister said, I’m sooo glad you got a cookbook, since you don’t have any.  Did anyone recognize the sarcasm dripping off that sentence?  Okay, so I have a few cookbooks!  But to the pressing matter at hand – I don’t have one with a grape cake recipe!  So what else was I to do – I went to the internet!  Found a great recipe at allrecipes.com!  This cake was just as good as I imagine – better, actually!  The lemon and orange zest gave it an over-the-top flavor – and the grapes were soft and warm.  I added a dusting of powdered sugar – since that was a completion of the picture I had carried around with me all week!  Try this recipe – you will love this cake!

Italian Fresh Purple Grape Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 – 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 10 ounces small purple grapes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter and flour a 9 inch springform cake pan, tapping out any excess flour.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes.  Add the butter, oil, milk and vanilla extract, and mix until blended.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.  Add the lemon zest and orange zest, and toss to coat the zest with flour.

Spoon the flour mixture into the bowl of batter and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more.  Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquids.

Stir in about 3/4 of the grapes into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.

Place the pan in the center of the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining grapes.  Bake for about 40 minutes more, until the top is a deep golden brown and the cake feels quite firm when pressed with a fingertip.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  After 10 minutes, run a knife along the sides of the pan.  Release and remove the side of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the pan base.  Serve at room temperature, cut into thin wedges.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

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Roasted Sausages and Grapes

Note by Phyllis Brown:  This recipe was included in the book A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena de Blasi.  I enjoy reading about people living in other countries – Italy especially!  It has been tweaked just a bit to suit my way of cooking.  The first time I fixed this Ritchey couldn’t give praise enough.  I thought perhaps he was a little prejudiced.  Shortly after that his brothers and their wives came to the house for a meal and I tried it out on them.  They proclaimed it very good.  You can use any type grape – or mix them.  The dark, sweet, black grapes were on sale so they were my choice.  The infused olive oil gives not only such a good taste to the sausages and grapes, but the smell while cooking is fantastic!

Roasted Sausages and Grapes

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • pepper
  • 19 ounces Italian sausage
  • 1 pound grapes, rinsed, and removed from the stems
  • 1/2 cup red wine

In a small saucepan over low heat add the olive oil, rosemary, anise seeds, fennel and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir well. Cover the pan and allow the oil to infuse for 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In an ovenproof skillet or casserole dish brown the sausages in a little olive oil over medium heat.  When browned, remove the skillet from the burner.  Add the grapes.  Pour the infused oil over the sausages and grapes and stir to coat well.  Bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sausages will crust and the grapes become plump.  Remove skillet from oven and return to burner.  Add the wine and cook for about 5 minutes.  Enjoy!