Monday, October 1, 2012

Nectarine streusel cake

Growing up in a multicultural family was not always easy. I spent a lot of my life feeling like the odd-one-out wherever I was, like I never fit in anywhere 100%.
I was always a little different, the American when in school, the Italian when going back home for vacation. I had German speaking nannies in the States, English speaking nannies in Italy.
Then again, being a mix of sorts had its perks.
I got to travel a lot to see family.
I learned early on that different is good, interesting, enriching.
It also meant learning many lanuguages.  
My first words in New York were German. When the English was starting to sink in we moved to Paris for a year and my brain got rewired. I wouldn't really say I speak French, but I certainly have a knack for it. Then we moved back and when I finally learned to read and write in English, we moved to Italy, where I started over again in a new language. I even picked up Venetian on the way and a few words of Swedish and Spanish.
When we were kids, my sister and I had fun listening in on tourists' conversations, we always had a secret language to gossip in wherever we were and we got to daydream (more than we usually did) during English and German class in school. 
I could read books and watch movies in a variety of languages and making friends on vacation was easy once I got over my initial painstaking shyness towards my peers.
I never, however, was shy around adults and it entertained them to no end to hear me readily switch from one language to another without a moment's hesitation.
Languages are key for who I am and what I do today.
Last, but not least, languages are useful if you spend a lot of time ogling recipes. If my mother wasn't German, I probably would not have been able to make this recipe and translate it for you. Which is a very good thing, believe me. Once you have tasted how the silky fruit makes the baked batter go all custardy in its proximity, becoming the perfect contrast to the crumbly, crystallized buttery topping, you will understand how right I am.


85gr flour
1 tsp baking powder
85gr sugar
85gr softened butter
1 egg
1-2 ripe nectarines or other stone fruit

50gr flour
30gr sugar
30gr softened butter

Springform pan 20-24cm

Grease and lightly flour a 20-24 cm springform pan.
Put all the ingredients for the batter into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix. Transfer the resulting batter into the pan, spreading it with a spatula.
Cut the nextarine or other fruit in half, take out the pit and cut into thin slices that you will lay on the batter in  a circle. I only had one nectarine and it worked fine anyway.
For the crumble mix the flour, butter and sugar with your fingers and then sprinkle over the fruit.
Bake the cake in a preheated, ventilated oven at 160 °C for 20-25 minutes. You don't want the cake to dry out too much so check your cake after 20 minutes, keeping in mind that it will keep baking once it is out of the oven.



  1. How I envy your multilingual-ness! I just made that up, but I'm sure you know what I mean. This cake looks fabulous and not too many ingredients. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm glad you managed to translate this recipe too, it looks wonderful and each slice is so slim and delicate. I've been going to Italy since I was tiny but because I learnt Spanish in school I can only speak both to an ok degree rather than being fluent. One day I will master Italian properly!

  3. Sublime. As one who speaks only one language, I'm envious.

  4. I don't have such a big multicultural background as you do, but I related to many things you said in your post. My mother is English, my dad Spanish and I was born in Barcelona, Spain, where I grew up. I am currently living in France and have a French boyfriend. I know I'm lucky, I speak four languages and have travelled a LOT (especially when I was little, I was the only child in my class to spend my holidays abroad). I remember getting frustrated when my classmates used to tell me that I was English, when I was actually born in the same city as them. When I went to England I was the little Spanish girl with a funny accent.

    By the way, your cake looks delicious. I've never cooked German recipes, maybe this one could be my first :)

    1. Hi Inés!
      It sounds like you are just as multicultural (if not more) as I am. It used to drive me nuts when I went to NY and my American friends introduced me to others as their Italian friend! And yes, when I was growing up I was the only one in my class constantly boarding intercontinental flights... although I always loved that part.

  5. I always dreamt of having a multi-cultural background! And now I will dream of that cake too!

  6. I really loved this quote of yours "I learned early on that different is good, interesting, enriching." A lot of kids or even adults don't realise until too late that being different is a wonderful thing indeed :)


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