Friday, September 12, 2014

Patricia Wells' Champagne Grape Cake

This is one beautiful cake.
Just in time for the fall harvest (I am referring to grapes/wine).

It's light, simple and fragrant.

If you are not familiar with Patricia Wells, then go to the library and take out some of her books.
They are classics.

She still gives cooking classes in Paris and Provence a few times a year, if you are lucky enough to catch them.

Her paperback book Bistro Cooking is a favorite of so many cooks (no photos, just simple French bistro style meals), and her book At Home in Provence is an old classic.

Ms. Wells uses champagne grapes, which I was lucky enough to find, but next time I will try blackberries (I think this would also be good in the winter, with golden raisins).

The original recipe tells you to let the batter rest for 15 minutes. I did not bother. No problem.

We had this with wine on the patio, instead of coffee, it is just that kind of cake.

Champagne Grape Cake (adapted from At Home in Provence by Patricia Wells)

2 large eggs, room temperature
a scant less than a 1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 lemon, grated zest
1 orange, grated zest
10 oz. champagne grapes
confectioner's sugar for dusting

Butter and flour a 9" springform pan.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix eggs w/ sugar and zest until pale and fluffy.

Add in vanilla, melted butter, oil and milk and mix well.

Add in the dry ingredients and the grapes last (saving a handful for the top).

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and scatter some of the champagne grapes on top for decoration.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding.
Dust w/ powdered sugar and enjoy.

So good.


Theresa W said...

Stacey, love your blog and love the Champagne cake. I plan to make along with some whipped cream on the side. Shouldn't a Paris trip be around the corner for you? I enjoyed your blog from your Paris rip last year. Felt like I was enjoying the fromage and charcuterie plate myself

Stacey Snacks said...

Yes! Leaving for Paris very soon! Stay tuned!

Bebe said...

Looks delicious. I have Wells's Bistro Cooking and think it is terrific. Have also read other books by her.

I always let melted butter cool a bit as there is always the possibility that hot butter will hit eggs in the mixture and cook bits of them. I was taught that, absent any instructions to the contrary, all ingredients should be room temperature for baking success.

I love your simple to make and wonderful to eat....

Theresa W said...

Terrific, Stacey! I have two wonderful restaurants for your Paris short list: Café de Mars in the 7th around the corner from the Christian Constant circus and Bistrotters for lunch in the 14th. Both had great food, warm and friendly wait-staff, very reasonably priced, and over half of the diners were locals.

Stacey Snacks said...

Do you mean Fontaine de Mars? or Bistro de Mars?

We love Fontaine de Mars on a Sunday night in the 7eme. 2 floors, very casual and fun.

Be sure to tune in!

Patsy said...

3 days and counting. Have a great trip, Stacey. Think of me when you and Henry are at Verjus Wine Bar!

Lisa said...

Hi Stacey! Although I love to cook, I am not a baker....I am one of those people who never follows a recipe (its a strange inability).... I read them and books like a novel, but rarely go back. That said, I am going to try this one because, A) I like cake and B) champaign grapes make me happy! And C) I have heaps of said grapes I just bought from Costco!!
Perfect timing!
Waiting with great anticipation for your Paris adventure as this year I get to follow in your footsteps!

Theresa W said...


Who knew there were so many restaurants in Paris with "de Mars" in their names?!

I'm referring to Café de Mars on 11 Rue Augereau in the 7th ( I've also been to Fontaine de Mars and I enjoyed Café de Mars so much more. For me, Café de Mars was the dining experience we all hope for when we come to Paris. So good.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love the look of those champagne grapes, but I don't know if I've ever tasted them. I have to remedy that asap. The cakes seems like the perfect vehicle to showcase them. Have a blast in Paris and London.

Stacey Snacks said...

Theresa W.,

Merci! We will try both of your suggestions.