Quinces are knobbly pome fruits with the texture of an apple and the scent of a guava. The combination of quince, rye flour, and honey is a match made in heaven, as this luscious recipe amply demonstrates. The batter rises up over the fruit to create a fun ‘sunken’ effect that makes this simple tea cake feel fancier than it really is. If quinces are hard to find or out of season, baking apples make a great substitute.
WHAT YOU NEED
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp granulated sugar
For the batter
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
175g rye flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
100ml whole (full-cream) milk
Powdered (icing) sugar, to serve
WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter a 23 cm springform cake pan.
Peel the quinces, taking care as some varieties can be very hard, and cut them into halves. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the seeds and tough interior. Score the outside of each piece in 5–6mm thick slices, being careful not to cut all the way through. As the quince bakes, it will fan apart and the scoring will help to soften the fruit. Toss the prepared quinces in the lemon juice and sugar and set aside.
For the batter, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, honey and sugar, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on high speed until fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon zest.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl, then gradually add to the butter mixture, mixing gently on the lowest speed until incorporated. Mix in the milk.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Arrange the scored quince halves on top, scored side up (if there is room, place the sixth piece in the middle of the cake). There’s no need to press them into the batter, as the cake will rise around them in the oven.
Bake for 40 mins until the top of the cake is golden and the quince pieces are soft. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, then sift powdered sugar over the top and serve. The cake is best eaten on the day of baking, but leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.