Serious Eats: Sweets
Let Them Eat: Concord Grape Cake
On Saturday mornings when my husband and I go out to run errands, I like to make a pit stop at the farmers' market. Occasionally, we indulge in a few sugar-and-cinnamon-coated cider doughnuts and hot cider, and stroll, wax-paper baggie in hand, checking out the maple syrup, bread, and seasonal produce.
On a recent weekend I wasn't on that sort of casual, "just looking!" walk. I was on the prowl for cake ingredients. My computer screen's border is hidden under purple and yellow Post-Its with cake ideas on them. Unfortunately, every single one of those ideas had been baked and crossed out and I was feeling uninspired and without direction.
Doughnut in hand—yes, I had stopped for one, to prevent plunging even further into despair—I walked, eyes darting from stall to stall, anxiety building; were apples the only thing to be found today? And then, a table covered with Concord grapes. Compact and tightly clustered, deepest azure peeking from a delicate, powdery white bloom, they exhaled ripe, sweet aroma.
I paid for two sea foam green compressed cardboard containers, carefully tucking them into a bag so as not to accidentally turn them into juice, and continued with the day's to-do list. The day was looking bright and lovely now.
Concord grapes' scent and flavor are potent and concentrated. Eating one induces temporary synesthesia: I'm positive I'm tasting the color purple when I bite into one. This cake is meant to allow those qualities shine, exult, sing.
You'll find grapes in the cake, and also in a gorgeous patent leather-shiny layer of jam on top. It's crumbly, moist, sticky, glossy, and, how else to describe it: grape-y.
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About the author: María del Mar Sacasa is a recipe developer, food stylist, and author of the food blog High Heels & Frijoles. Behind her girly façade lurks a truck driver's appetite. Read about her cravings and suffer through her occasional rants on Twitter @HHandFrijoles.