When it comes to fruit desserts, there really are no rules. Toss peaches into pie, blend blueberries into ice cream. Arrange cherries in cobbler, layer plums in a crumble. (Should I stop? You get it.)
Jason Schreiber definitely gets it. His cookbook, Fruit Cake, is a celebration of (you guessed it!) cakes that feature fruit. From tea and snack cakes that are just as welcome at 11 a.m. as they are at 10 p.m, to multilayered, custard-filled, and cream-topped showstoppers, the book is filled with fruit desserts. There are plenty of formal cakes, like Coconut Pound Cake and Hazelnut Plum Snacking Cake, but also fun variations on a theme, like Cranberry Pecan Muffins and Strawberry Tamales de Dulce. We’re talking fruit desserts so dang vibrant, you’ll find yourself seized with the urge to run to the nearest farmers market and buy a bushel of whatever’s in season—because there’s probably a recipe in here for a treat featuring whichever fruit you come back with.
That’s certainly how I felt as I devoured the photos—and then actually devoured some of the desserts—in Schreiber’s collection. Because if anything is clear from Fruit Cake, it’s that you don’t need a celebration to make a cake; in fact, cake itself is a reason to celebrate. Whether I’m in the mood for a simple classic with a twist, like his Blueberry-Gooseberry Crumb Cake or Banana Bread (which calls for soft, sweet plantains, too), or I want to spend hours on a decadent birthday cake (I’m coming for you, six-layer Coconut Cielo Cake!), I’ve always got room for a fruit dessert.
“The bread used for bostock should be oven-dried, which is not at all the same as stale,” notes Schreiber when it comes to this crunchy dessert, which tastes a lot like an almond croissant topped with peaches, but is infinitely simpler to make.
Similar to a semifreddo, but totally vegan thanks to a coconut-milk-based horchata sorbet, this is more similar to an icebox cake than a chocolate-frosted situation. Schreiber notes you should never skip the corn syrup in the mixture, as it prevents the cake from freezing into an icy rock.
You know the drill: This cake is just like the pie, but, ahem, cakier. “I don’t know if you’ve ever squeezed a Key lime. It’s a pain in the ass,” notes Schreiber. “But the flavor hiding in the modicum of juice you’ll recover more than makes up for the struggle.” Of course, if you really can’t bear to squeeze (or can’t find) the teeny limes, regular ol’ lime juice will be just fine.
“I prefer natural peanut butter—the kind with only two ingredients that needs to be lovingly stirred back together—for my spoon licking and toast spreading,” explains Schreiber. “But I’ve learned (reluctantly) that it’s a poor choice when it comes to baking.” So when it comes to this sweet and savory cake, go for that sweetened, uber-creamy, no-stirring-needed PB.
This plum torte is so good, the New York Times used to publish the recipe every year. Luckily, we don’t have to wait for a printed version to get the recipe these days. Thank you, internet.
There are sweet-tart plums both in (as tender slices) and atop (as “caramel” made from puréed plums and caramelized sugar) of this cake, as if we needed another reason to take advantage of any bulk-plum-purchase discounts.
You don’t actually need fresh blueberries for this marbled pound cake, but that’s kind of the beauty of this loaf: Even if you sleep in and miss the blueberries at the market, just grab a bag of freeze-dried blueberries (hint: you can do that right now), and you’re on your way to a lovely blueberry dessert.
Corn is actually killer in desserts, especially when paired with blueberries. The kernels here get soaked in the cream that’s used in the semifreddo custard base. To serve, just dollop lemony blueberry compote over everything.
“This dish is rustic in flavor, with major farmhouse vibes, like the best parts of a bread pudding, a peach pie, and a buttery biscuit, all rolled into one,” says recipe developer Posie Brien. Uh, sign me up.
When recipe developer Eric Kim first thought of this recipe (a vegan mug cake), he didn’t intend for it to be vegan. Or a mug cake. So, you may ask, what the hell happened? I’ll let Eric tell you: “I found that here it didn’t make much sense to turn on the oven for a mere fistful of fruity biscuit. Especially in the heat of summer. Which is why the 12-ounce mug—that beautiful, versatile beast—found its way back into my life, this time as a gooey microwave peach cobbler.”
“The French believe that leaving the pits in the cherries makes the clafoutis more flavorful,” explains recipe developer Abra Bennett. “It’s certainly easier on the cook, and provides lots of opportunity for playful pit-spitting and juicy red fingers when you serve the dessert.” I mean, who are we to argue with the French? Team No-More-Pitting-Cherries, assemble!
I wouldn’t suggest wearing white when eating this deeply burgundy cherry sorbet, unless you’re actually trying to tie-dye. In which case, might as well go all in and wear white pants, too, and use your outfit as a napkin.
What’s your favorite dessert to make with fruit? Sound off in the comments!