Fresh fruit baked into cakes provides a nice contrast of taste and texture, but figuring out how to get the fruit to distribute itself evenly throughout the cake can be a challenge. Because the fruit has a greater mass than individual bits of batter, and because the batter is quite moist, pieces of fruit have a tendency to sink to the bottom if you just throw them in. In order to put fresh fruit in your cake batter, you need to prepare the fruit first. Think of it like putting on a bathing suit before you go to a pool.
Wash and cut fresh fruit into small pieces, sized no larger than a slice of a strawberry. If you are using fruits like berries, do not need peel them. If you are using kiwis, bananas, or other fruits that require peeling, peel them before cutting.
Measure 1/4 cup flour or cocoa powder into a bowl. Use cocoa for chocolate cakes and flour for all other cakes.
Roll the fruit pieces in the flour, so they are lightly coated on all sides.
Fold the fresh fruit into the cake batter gently, as though it was egg whites. Stop as soon as you have distributed the fruit evenly throughout the batter; do not overmix.
Bake your cake according to your recipe’s instructions.
Applying a dry, powdery substance to the outside of fresh fruit helps it grab onto the batter, allowing it to remain suspended more easily. Using cocoa for chocolate cakes helps you avoid big white blotches in your cake that flour might cause.
If you have made or intend to make blueberry muffins, this method works for them as well. Any batter-based recipe, cake or otherwise, can utilize this method with good results.
Avoid the temptation to use larger pieces of fruit. Even if you coat them in flour or cocoa powder, their heavy weight will make most (if not all) of them sink to the bottom. Only use larger pieces if you don’t mind your fruit sinking to the bottom of your cake, almost like a pineapple upside-down cake.
- "The Professional Chef (Eighth Edition)"; Culinary Institute of America; 2006
Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker and writer who has written for several online publications, including Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.