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.
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There are very few foods in this world that I truly hate, but one of them is grape jelly. I think it's fake-tasting, too sweet, and lacking in any true grape flavor. I cringe when my toast comes with those little purple packets at restaurants, and I prefer my peanut butter sandwiches with strawberry jam. And yet, the concord grapes looked so beautiful (so autumnal!) at the farmers' market this week I just couldn't resist buying bunch upon bunch. Guess what? Homemade concord grape jam tastes nothing like the sticky-sweet supermarket kind.
If I were a poet, I'd write an ode to the grapes that have graced my local greenmarket recently. I love their pucker-inducing skins, and their sweet juicy insides. I love the way that the squishy, gelatinous centers burst out of the skins and squeak between my teeth. I love the seed-spitting contests my husband and amused ourselves with childishly from a blanket in the park. And, most of all, given their perfect combination of sweet, tart and colorful, I'm loving them for baking.