The season for fresh fruit has arrived and it's time to look ahead, when the harvest will have passed. However, you can make only so much jam or marmalade, or canned condiments. You can fold only so many pounds of fruit through syrup. At some point, the freezer is full and it's time to enjoy the bounty for the moment.

Light, buttery cakes are for now -- flavorful butter cakes and cakes that look like hefty tarts, either made with a creamed batter enclosing fruit or from a moist cookie-like dough base upon which the sweetened fruit sits. Both kinds of cakes are a delicious showcase for summer fruit. They are wholesome and casual looking, quite portable and easily cut into squares or wedges for serving.

Just-out-of-the-oven and warm, these summery quick cakes make a fashionable and delicious dessert when combined with lightly whipped cream sweetened and flavored with a few tablespoons of liquid brown sugar and droplets of pure vanilla extract. Miniature egg-shaped scoops of ice cream taste good with barely warm slabs of cake. A vanilla custard sauce of smooth pouring consistency, puddled alongside a wedge of fruitcake, makes for a glorious combination of fruit, cake and creamy sauce.

PEACH GINGERBREAD CAKE (6 generous servings)

The ginger in the cake enhances the flavor of the peaches and the cake is a very buttery and moist version of classic gingerbread.

1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark molasses

2 extra-large or jumbo eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

3 peaches, peeled, pits removed, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, tossed in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Lightly butter the inside of an 8 1/2- to 9-inch springform pan; line the bottom of the pan with a circle of waxed paper or cooking parchment paper; set aside.

Onto a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until light, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue creaming for 1 minute. Beat in the molasses. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition; scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently to insure an even mixture.

On low speed, add half of the sifted mixture and blend it in. Slowly beat in all of the sour cream. Add the remaining sifted mixture, beating just until the particles of flour have been absorbed.

Pour and scrape two thirds of the batter into the prepared pan; top with the peach slices. Cover the peaches with the remaining batter, leveling the top by gently shaking the pan from side to side.

Bake the cake on the middle level rack of a 350-degree oven for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake emerges clean and dry and the cake lightly pulls away from the side of the pan.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove the springform sides. If you are using another type of pan, let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack and invert again to cool rightside up.

Serve the cake warm or at room temperature, cut into triangles; dust the top with sifted confectioners' sugar and pass a bowl of sweetened whipped cream or vanilla custard sauce to accompany the cake, if you like.

BLUEBERRY BUCKLE (6 generous servings) This is a charming little cake, full of plump blueberries and spice. It is topped with a crumble of butter, chopped walnuts, sugar and cinnamon, which is a delightful finish to a simple butter cake. Served warm, with little clouds of spiced whipped cream, this becomes a very enjoyable dessert when blueberry season hits.

1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup milk, at room temperature

2/3 cup fresh blueberries, picked over, and tossed with 2 teaspoons cake flour

FOR THE TOPPING:

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts blended with 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons very cold unsalted sweet butter, cut into small flakes

Lightly butter and flour the inside of an 8-inch square cake pan that is at least 2 1/2 inches deep; line the bottom of the pan with a square of waxed paper; set aside.

Onto a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on moderately high speed for 2 minutes, or until light. Beat in the sugar in 2 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the vanilla. Alternately add the sifted dry ingredients in 3 additions with the milk in 2 additions, on low speed, beating just until the flour particles are absorbed before adding the next portion of milk. By hand, stir in the blueberries, with all of the flour that clings.

Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and top with the nut topping, sprinkling it evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake the cake on the middle level rack of a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake emerges clean and the cake gently pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto another rack, and invert again to cool right-side up. Serve the buckle warm, or cool, with whipped cream, ice cream, or a dollop of cre me frai che. Cut into squares, and sprinkle the top with sieved confectioners' sugar, if you like.

SPICED PEACH ROUND (6 generous servings)

This is a light spicy cake with a baked-in walnut and peach filling: The peaches are set on top of the batter, and as the cake bakes, the peaches are enclosed within the cake.

FOR THE CAKE:

1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 jumbo eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

FOR THE PEACHES:

3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pits removed, sliced into 1/2-inch thick wedges, and tossed in the juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon cake flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon sugar

Lightly butter the inside of an 8 1/2- to 9-inch springform pan or other baking pan that is at least 3 inches deep. Cut a circle of waxed paper or cooking parchment paper to fit inside the pan and place it in; set aside.

To make the cake batter, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on moderately high speed for 1 minute or until light. Reduce the speed to moderate and beat in the sugar in 2 additions, blending well after each portion is added. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each egg is added to keep the mixture even. Blend in the vanilla. On low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients in 2 portions, beating just until the particles of flour have been absorbed. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl combine the peaches, cake flour, cinnamon, walnuts, and sugar. Spoon the peaches evenly over the top of the cake batter.

Bake the cake on a middle level of a 375-degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake emerges clean, and the cake gently pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan, if using one; otherwise, invert the cake on a cooling rack and invert again to cool completely rightside up.

Serve the cake, cut in wedges, with a dusting of confectioners' sugar over the top and a spoonful of sweetened whipped cream or ice cream on the side.

NECTARINE CRUMB CAKE (6 generous servings)

The "crumbs" on top of this cake are made up of buttered and spiced walnuts, which turn out to mate well with the nectarines. This cake tastes heavenly when served with sweetened whipped cream lightly flavored with cinnamon or nutmeg, or with a custard sauce heavily laced with vanilla.

FOR THE DOUGH:

1 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 extra-large or jumbo egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten and blended with 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1/4 cup whipping cream

FOR THE NECTARINES:

4 large ripe nectarines, peeled, pits removed, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and tossed in the juice of half a lemon, teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

FOR THE "CRUMBS":

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons unsalted sweet butter, cut into cubes

Lightly butter and flour the inside of an 8 1/2- to 9-inch springform pan, or other 8- or 9-inch round (or square) baking pan that is at least 2 1/2 inches deep. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle (or square) of waxed paper or cooking parchment paper; set aside.

For the dough, stir the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together. Drop in the butter cubes, and with 2 round-bladed knives, cut the butter into the flour until the fat is reduced to small bits or flakes. Pour over the egg-cream mixture and stir to form a dough. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, making a 1/3- to 1/2-inch edge built up on the sides.

Carefully spoon the nectarines on the top of the dough, keeping them within the edges of the dough. In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the crumbs with a round-bladed knife; the butter should be reduced to pea-sized bits. Scatter the crumbs evenly on the top of the nectarines.

Bake the cake on the middle level rack of a 425-degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden on top, and the peaches are tender. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold, and serve warm.