A big bowl of apricots was sitting in my kitchen ripening, and it was crying out to be made into a cake. I searched around quite a bit fora recipe that looked more interesting than the usual, and found this gorgeous one on hungryrabbitnyc.com. What I love so much about this recipe is the addition of ground almonds and almond extract in the cake, and the use of rum and apricot jam to bring out the flavour in the apricots. It tasted amazing when it was still slightly warm, and surprisingly good the next day. I can imagine it would also be really good with plums or nectarines on the top instead of apricots.
What you need:
2 tablespoons apricot preserve
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 pound apricots, halved and pitted
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons/3 ounces unsalted butter , cut into 6 pieces, slightly softened
1 large egg , room temperature
1 large egg yolk , room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
icing sugar for serving (optional – I forgot to sprinkle it on)
What you do:
1. Heat the apricot preserve and the rum in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the apricots, cut side down, and cook without touching them for 5-7 minutes, or until they begin to release their juices. Put these aside while you prepare the cake batter.
2. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by greasing and flouring it. Heat the oven to 350F, with the rack in the middle of the oven.
3. Combine the sugar, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor. (I did this by hand because I was at a cabin without all the gadgets, and it worked fine that way.) Add the butter and combine until it is the texture of coarse sand. Add the egg and extra yolk, along with the vanilla and almond extracts, and mix just until combined.
4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to even out the surface. Carefully stir the apricot mixture to coat the fruit with the rum glaze, then arrange the fruit on top of the batter. In the original recipe it looks like they are arranged cut side up, but I put mine on cut side down because I wanted to show off the bit or redness in the apricot skins.
5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached but is not doughy. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake, then allow it to sit for half and hour before releasing it from the pan.
Sprinkle the icing sugar on top if you wish, then serve delicious wedges of cake.