‘Verdulerías' (fruit and vegetable stalls) are always immaculately presented in Argentina, with lined-up produce glistening with water droplets. As with many local shops, when you buy produce, you need to speak to the shopkeeper to find and purchase what you are looking for. It is a lovely exchange that usually ends up in a friendly chat.
The size and climate of Argentina means that most fruit can be grown there. In summer, stone fruit, such as peaches, are at their peak and are a beautiful addition to cakes. If peaches aren't in season, nectarines, plums and berries will work just as nicely in this recipe.
250 ml (1 cup) full-cream milk
1 Tbs lemon juice
300 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
80 g (¾ cup) almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
250 g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
460 g (2 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
185 ml (¾ cup) pouring (single/light) cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs icing (confectioners') sugar
2 peaches, stones removed, cut into thin wedges
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line a 23 cm (9 in) springform cake tin with baking paper.
Combine the milk and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine the flour, almond meal and baking powder in another bowl and set aside.
Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, beat the butter and gradually add the sugar, until pale and creamy. Add 1 egg and beat until well combined, then repeat with the remaining eggs, beating well between each addition.
Beat through half the milk mixture followed by half the flour mixture, until well combined. Repeat with the remaining milk and flour mixtures.
Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Use a large serrated knife to cut the cake in half horizontally and carefully remove the top half.
Beat the cream, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar to form soft peaks. Spread half the cream on the bottom layer of the cake, then carefully replace the top layer of the cake. Spread the remaining cream over the top and arrange the sliced peaches on the cream. Finely sieve the remaining icing sugar over the cake, then cut into thick slices and serve.
Credits: The Food of Argentina: Asado, empanadas, dulce de leche and more by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz. (Smith Street Books, November 2018 - AU$ 49.99, NZ$ 59.99).
Photo Credits: Photography © Rachel Tolosa Paz | Food styling © Vanessa Austin