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Fresh Fruit Purees Added to Cake Batter

Jan 12, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose


I would like to bake a cake with fresh purees. Such as peaches, strawberries, etc. I cannot seen to find a recipe with puree, I did find a couple using cake mixes but I want a scratch cake. I absolutely am an avid reader/owner of your books. I attended SCSCA in Pasadena in patisserie but have learned more from your books that I am sorry I made the expense for the school. If you can help me I would so appreciate it.

Thank you,


thank you--i'm very moved by your compliment. i must share another moving experience i had in pasadena when i was on tour for "the bread bible" 2-1/2 years ago. a woman named rose came to my book signing bringing her grown daughter as well. she reminded me that she had brought her daughter as a little girl to my signing for ""the cake bible. now she was returning to buy "the bread bible" for herself and another "cake bible" for her daughter to have now that she was living on her own. it was a very beautiful way for me to mark the passage of time!

now for the fruit purees. i'm sorry to disappoint you but i found even when adding fruit juices to cake it seemed to disturb the ph balance of the batter and give it an off texture. cake mixes have emulsfiers and other things that give it what is known in the industry as "tolerance." this means that all manner of additions can be made and the cake will still work. as you've probably seen in "the cake bible," i do add purees to buttercreams with great results. perhaps another person on this blog has had a more positive experience adding it to cakes?


I have a really good cake recipe that uses fresh/frozen fruit instead of butter/oil. It comes out similar to a banana bread. It uses mostly ground almonds instead of flour, although it does have a little and I substitute sugar for truvia. It makes a very respectable lemon drizzle style cake. I heat the lemon juice with liquid sweetner/sugar free surup. It's a recipe that can be adapted to become wheat, gluten, sugar, fat and oil free. So it's a win, win recipe.


Hi Ngarita,
We suggest that you post this on the Forums section as well, which will give your request more visibility for our international baking community to give suggestions to this subject.
Rose & Woody


In New Zealand nearly all of us know the Edmonds Cookery Book. There is a Banana Cake recipe in this book. I find it works fine with other fruit so long as its mushy (ie, over ripe but not mouldy). Not sure if it would work with apples or pears though. For sour/bitter fruit just add a bit more sugar. Recently I combined some kiwifruit and plums. When I added the baking soda the mixture turned a grey colour - looked awful but past the taste test. So, I suggest you do not combine these but use them in seperate cakes as they are fine on thier own.


My bright suggestion for Patt is add a big slug of Bacardi - hahaha!(Rose if you could devise a cake similar to the famous Bacardi Cake made with Golden Cake mix I would never buy another mix ever again!)


Puree added to anything it always have better taste because I have tried a lot of new thing with different fruits purees.
But still its look some that I have top tried.


iv used a very good recipe for persimmon cookies that are basically sponge with persimmon puree mixed in.
i tried a variation of using pureed apple & persimmon but the inside of the sponge didn't solidify, tasted alright if consistency was ignored


Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Lisa
12/ 6/2014 07:10 PM

Lisa, I'm sure many will appreciate if you would like to share your positive results. The best place to share a recipe or two would be on the forums.


Oh I forgot... Stay away from pineapple and kiwi because they have enzymes that will break down your cake. They can be used for meat tenderizers.


WRONG !!!!! Fruit puree works amazingly in cake batters. You just have to have the right recipe. keep digging. I spent 3 years working on my 10. Good luck.


Hey, after my grandma gave me some leftover squash andnvegetablemthen asked me to make bread/pone with it I've started doing it with fruit amdnthings.

I literally just boil the fruit (or rhubarb this time), drain off the water Amd add gelatin to it to make jello

Then I add a cup or two of flour to the rhubarb mush, a bit of cinnamon or mixed essence and you got 2 easy puddings for one

I often just use mushy bananas instead of eggs too. Easy.


patt, when i was consulting for proctor and gamble years ago, one of the things i learned is that cake mixes have patent winning emulsifiers that offer what they refer to as 'tolerance.' this means it's possible to add all manner of things without destroying the cake's texture. it's fine to experiment but you might want to pick up a copy of the cake mix doctor. she has brilliant ideas for improving cake mixes and it's in paper back. you could probably get it really inexpensively on amazon.

it's so wonderful of you to want to improve things for your residents. my 97 year old dad is living with his caretaker and he 'lives to eat.' it seems at his age he can eat as much as he wants without gaining weight!


I bake in a nursing home and was wondering what I could do to make our "packaged" cake mix taste a little better for our residents. I thought of adding buttermilk or fruit puree but dont know if I need to decrease the water or increase anything else. I am not a baker by trade it is just part of my job and we almost always use the pre mixed cakes that call for just water. ANY help would be greatly appreciated by our 80+ residents!!


Jacqueline Duke
Jacqueline Duke
03/13/2010 11:53 AM

Martha Stewart had some bakers on making cupcakes and the Sprinkles strawberry cupcake recipe added strawberry puree to batter and is delicious:

2/3 c strawberries pureed to 1/3 c
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c whole milk, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c sugar
1 egg plus 2 egg whites, room temp

350 22 -25 minutes makes 12 cupcakes (or probably two 8" layers)

The recipe calls for a powdered sugar frosting (3 1/2 c) with 1 c butter and 1/2 c strawberries (pureed to 3 T), salt & vanilla.


I want to make a strawberry cake for my dad's 70th birthday. If I use Rose's white cake recipe, how much baking POWDER and soda should I use to balance the ph? Thanks for your help!


this will be in my upcoming book for which i am in round the clock photography for the next 10 days!


Hi Michele - I adore the flavor of cardamom. How much do you add to the banana cake recipe?


Michele Howell
Michele Howell
03/28/2008 09:26 AM

Hi Rose,
I have never blogged before in my life, but I was so glad to find out you had a blog and there is so much info on it, Thanks for sharing. I have all your books and use several on your recipes. I use your Rose Banana Cake with the addition of a little cardamon spice and people seem to love it. A Bride has choosen this flavor for her wedding and I wanted to know can you tell me how to increase the recipe for 100 servings rather than 8?


regarding the fruit puree's, my son demanded a strawberry cake and I was unable to find a satisfactory recipe (one that did not require a cake mix and strawberry jello) so I took one of the white cake recipe's from the
Cake Bible and added pureed strawberries with a little strawberry flavoring (sorry for the artificial flavor but it kind of needed it) and this was a fantastic cake - granted he is only 3 but he does have discerning tastes, the cake was great in texture. I don't remember exactly which recipe it was, I believe it was the one with whtie chocolate in it - which by the way is the absolutely best cake ever. and I used 3/4 cup of puree.


Ooops. In my post, just above, that should be "acidic PH resulting from fruit seems addressed in my recipe by the use of baking POWDER." Tho' now that I think of it, baking soda would help balance the pH.


Greetings, everyone. This is my first time posting, but I've been hanging around for about a month, since I discovered Rose's blog while trying to get in on the no-knead bread craze. That was my first bread making experience. It's been going well. My products are improving and I'm learning a lot, but that's another story, to be posted elsewhere at a later date.

Regarding RubyMartha's query about fruit purees in cake: I have recently begun tweaking a recipe for pineapple upside down cake, and I thought that this should provide some basis for making other fruity cakes. Rose's response about the acidic PH resulting from fruit seems addressed in my recipe by the use of baking soda.

First, I have to say that the original version of this recipe came from who knows where. I first started making this cake when a teenager and my mother refused to keep store bought cakes and such in the house -- nor was she very interested in baking. Anyhow, when I left home I copied out the recipe from whatever book I had found it in. Maybe it will be a clue to know that the original specified either shortening or oil as the fat?

That was over 25 years ago. Now, I live in Italy and, one day, feeling a bit nostalgic, I decided to try to bake this cake. It's impossible to find vegetable shortening here, and I knew that I didn't like the results of using oil instead. So...I started thinking about butter. And then, lard. The cake as is it now is incredibly moist and flavorful (full of pineapple), and the crumb just hangs together. I expect that making changes to the type and ratio of flour would produce something drier, more cake-like, but I've not gone there yet.

I'd be greateful for any comments or suggestions any of you have on this ongoing project and possible future variations with other fruits & their juices.

Here is what my recipe has evolved to as of today:

cake flour 8%-9% protein 110g grams
baking powder 1 tsp
salt fine 3/8 tsp
sugar white castor 1,5 grams
(pork) lard 120 grams
pineapple juice 60 ml
egg chicken fresh 1 whole, large
pineapple fresh sliced, 1/4 inch thick
maraschino cherries optional
golden dried raisins optional
butter softened
sugar brown light granulated A few TBSP - dark sugar alone is rather overwhelmingky sweet. half and half mix is also good

Prepare 16cm springform pan by generously greasing and flouring bottom and sides. (The pan is really a mere 6 inches! -- I just wanted a cake for two)

Spread the soft butter over the pan's bottom.
Cover pan's bottom with brown sugar - don’t layer on too deep or it overwhelms

Cover brown sugar with fruit-- REALLY cover the bottom with fruit

Mix well together dry ingredients in one bowl.
cream sugar and fat in another bowl, then mix in pineapple juice.

Mix dry and wet together, then beat for 2 minutes at low then medium speed (300 strokes).
Add egg (unbeaten).
Beat for 1 minute.
Bake 30-35 minutes lowest flame, middle rack, until the usual signs of doneness appear (in my incredibly bad oven, that's about 180°C)

Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn upside down on a serving plate and release.


rose g, this question is always coming up so i am working on nut cakes for the new book. it really depends on the nut. in a nut shell: nuts don't absorb other ingredients and they don't provide much structure--certainly no gluten so it's more like they're carried by the other ingredients. in some cases i decrease the flour and in others i just add the nuts.
the grand marnier cake is one of my favorite nut cakes and i'll be presenting it as a wedding cake in the new book. hope this helps.


reeni--thank you for your beautiful note--it can't possibly be 5 months ago!!! it was very touching. i can't really report on le cirque since iet was an "event" which is never the same as a dinner. i know you know what i mean!

what a treat that must have been towork with jacques torres at the old le cirque!


Hi Rose et al -
I use your Cake Bible for all cakes for my tiny wedding cake business and everyone loves 'em. I am not happy with my nut cakes. I once read that to add nuts to a butter cake, replace 1/3 the flour with an equal amount of finely chopped nuts. I do this using the 'yellow base cake' formula, but the cakes lack texture and body -- tho the taste is excellent.

Any advice?
Rose, thank you for your wonderful, inspiring books!

Rose G.


Rose, it really was a quintessential random New York moment! I was at first taken aback and speechless that my 16- year baking idol was standing two feet away, but of course recovered enough to ask my friend Dalah to swipe your husband Elliott through so we could all get on the train together. On the way home I explained to her just how star-struck I was, and she knew because I made her wedding cake from your book in 1998! That in itself is another great cake story which involves flying with 8 lbs. of white modelling chocolate 10,000 miles....
Just wanted you to know that it means so much to me that you've heard good things; that students would not only remember me but tell you, whose words I've quoted and whose Bibles (and cookie book) I not only own and read but pretty much internalized and teach from constantly, is humbling and heartwarming.
By the way, how is the new Le Cirque? I was an intern in 1997 then worked at the previous one (in the Palace Hotel)for about a year, 1999-2000, with Jacques Torres. Have not had a chance to peep into its newest incarnation.


hi reeni! what a marvelous coincidence--i was just telling rick smilow (owner of ICE where reeni teaches the pastry program) about meeting you when i saw him at the pastry arts party last night.
thanks for your comments on adding fruit to cake batter. now i'm wondering if trying to balance the acidity with baking soda might help. but i agree that except for the banana, most fruit is better served in cloud creams or couli (sauces).
now for those who don't know: the funny story is that my husband and i were coming home by subway one evening from a pre-opening party at the new le cirque restaurant and found ourselves on opposite sides of the turnstile bc my husband's metro-card didn't work. not liking to take the subway in the first place (though aside from by foot it is the best way to get around ny) i felt panic beginning to set in when this lovely woman offered him her metro card to swipe which worked. then she looked at me more carefully and asked me if i wasn't rose levy beranbaum and she and reeni introduced themselves. i had been hearing great things about reeni as a baking teacher so it was a really fun way to meet. ny can sometimes feel like a wonderfully small town. i still remember meeting edna lewis at the bloomingdale's subway stop many years ago and her calling out that she loved my white chocolate buttercream and used it for all her wedding cakes. sweet memories....!


Hello! To Rose, I've come in to say hi because when my friends and I met (well, sort of, in an enthusiastic-fan way) you and your husband in the subway some weeks ago you mentioned you had a blog and it is just amazing; I am so going to visit here every chance I get now! More power!
Regarding Jennifer's adding purees to cake batters, I have had varying degrees of success getting them to be a similar texture to butter cake because of the acidity; the notable exception is banana, as in your Cordon Rose Banana Bake. Strawberries are difficult also because they lose a lot of their sweetness and nice color when baked or cooked in any way. I have had better results though with the thicker purees such as mango (as a commercial puree or strained if fresh) by replacing some of the buttermilk in your Buttermilk Country Cake with it. The texture is coarser and baking time is different (because of the extra sugar?) but it has good flavor.
Excellent way to get purees into cakes is via a charlotte (yummy fruit cloud creams!), and there has also been a trend to make a layer of "pate de fruit" in a molded cake -- I say trend because I've seen it being featured in the entremet cakes made at the Pastry Cup competitions, but I haven't tried it myself yet.
Just some ideas to play with.


Laura Pettyjohn
Laura Pettyjohn
06/14/2006 04:14 PM

For Jennifer Steele: anytime I add fruit (or even nuts or chocolate chips) to a batter, I lightly flour the fruit before adding. It should be the last ingredient, and should be stirred in. This method keeps the fruit more evenly suspended throughout during baking. Good luck!


Courtney Gidts
Courtney Gidts
05/23/2006 10:48 PM

I've managed to save up roughly $63326 in my bank account, but I'm not sure if I should buy a house or not. Do you think the market is stable or do you think that home prices will decrease by a lot?


there will be recipes posted to the blog from time to time. put the words rose's favorite yellow cake in the search window on the left and it will lead you right to it.


01/22/2006 08:01 PM

I want to get e-mail and newsletters abort recipes from you


I haven't used fruit purees but I have added fruit to some of Rose's cake recipes with varying success. The best result was adding blackberries and orange zest to her yellow butter cake. Even though the blackberries sank to the bottom of the cake the combination of blackberry-orange-vanilla was heavenly! I didn't notice much of a change in cake texture. I've tried apples too but it made the cake really moist, bordering on mushy.


Hi Rose,

Do you have any idea why banana bread 'works' ??? The recipe I use is more like a banana cake, not as dry and bready as some others I've used. (Amazingly, it's not one of your recipes, lol. I started using it before I discovered your work.)

P.S. Anyone out there who hasn't tried Rose's Banana Feather Loaf needs to give it a shot. Soft, light, lovely stuff.


If you heat the juice/puree before adding it to the cake, it will help.



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