Romanian Fruit Coffee Cake(Pandispan cu Fructe) is a traditional summer cake that has a light, delicious texture and it is filled with seasonal fruits.
For many years, this has been one of my favorite desserts. I have made it so many times that I could probably recite the recipe in my sleep. Generations of Romanians keep making this Romanian Fruit Coffee Cake or “Pandispan cu fructe” as we call it in Romanian.
It is mostly a summer cake that people make to take advantage of seasonal fruits. I had this cake made with strawberries, but I also had it with sour cherries, which are very traditional for this recipe, peaches, sweet cherries or apricots. This time I made it with raspberries and it was divine.
The cake is relatively dense (to hold the weight of the fruits), it is moist, delicious and not very sweet. It is usually baked in large baking pans(12x16inch) and it is perfect for a family event, potluck or anytime you have a sweet tooth. The recipe is easy to make and the results are awesome.
I love this recipe, as it brings back memories from my home country, childhood and summers without worries.
When I was a kid, my mother would bake a cake like this and take it to potlucks or picnics. It was a perfect dessert at the beach, or as a snack in the lunch box.
Summers in Romania are hot and every month provides different fruits that are awesome for this recipe. In June there are strawberries, raspberries and sour or sweet cherries. In July and August there are apricots, peaches and nectarines that bring flavor to this cake. No matter what kind of fruits you have, you have to try the cake.
Since I moved to America, I can also find frozen fruits that are available year round. Maybe they are not as good as the fresh fruits in season, but they are perfectly fine to use in this recipe. However, if you want to go really, really traditional and use good fresh sour cherries, but you cannot find them anywhere, I suggest looking for canned sour cherries you can find in most European stores around United States.
The sour cherries are sold in jars and the lightly sweetened deep-red liquid in which they are preserved makes the most wonderful, intensely fruit-flavored drink. True, these canned sour cherries are softer than the fresh ones, but this is a small compromise considering their wonderful flavor.
I hope you try the recipe, you will not be sorry! And if you are a Romanian who lives outside of Romania and remember your grandmother making this for you, try this recipe and let me know what you think! Happy baking!
Some other recipes you can try for the summer:
- 2 pounds/900g raspberries(or strawberries, cherries, peaches, apricots)
- 3 sticks butter/ 1.5 cups/ 12.35oz/350g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups/8.8oz/250 g powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons/50 g honey
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs
- 3⅓ cups/14.11oz/400g all purpose flour(sifted)
- ¼ teaspoon/3 g salt
- 1 teaspoon/5 g baking powder
- Large Baking pan- 12x16 inch or 30x40cm
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- In a large bowl place butter at room temperature, powdered sugar, honey, lemon zest and vanilla extract.
- Using a hand mixer, start by mixing the ingredients together on low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs and keep mixing on medium speed.
- In a separate medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
- Add the flour slowly to the batter and keep mixing on low speed until the batter is smooth.
- Prepare a large baking pan(12x16 inch or 30x40cm) by buttering the bottom of it. Cover the pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper as well.
- Pour half of the batter on the baking pan and add half of the amount of fruit.
- Add the other half of batter on top of the fruits and finish with the rest of the fruits.(batter-fruit-batter-fruit)
- Bake at 350F/180C 30-35 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown.
- Let cool, then serve cut in squares sprinkled with powdered sugar on top.