This tender loaf makes a great base for nectarines or other summer fruits. Substitute apricots or peaches, or whatever berries look plumpest and juiciest at your market. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, adjust the sugar in step 5 as needed. MAKES ONE 9-BY-5-INCH LOAF
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for pan
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 4 meditum nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9-by- 5-inch loaf pan. Dust with sugar and flour, tapping out excess. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup sugar; beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and lemon juice.
- Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until just combined , scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan; tap pan on counter. Bake until center is springy to the touch, about 55 minutes (tent with foil if top begins to brown too quickly). Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack to cool completely. (Cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 2 days.)
- In a skillet, stir together nectarines and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar; add the water. Cook, stirring, until fruit is soft and liquid is syrupy, about 5 minutes. Let cool before serving with the cake.