Monday, March 18, 2013

Flavours Column: Apricot Cake

Writing this week's column I found it hard to keep within my 350 word limit. If you haven't realised yet, I'm a very wordy writer. I can't really help it. And I kinda like it. It gives me a voice and lets you get to know me...or maybe it's just me being really self-indulgent.


There were so many little stories I wanted to tell. Reasons why this cake was important. Funny little anecdotes. Like the time my brother and I creamed butter and sugar together and ate it straight from the bowl. (We only did that once I swear). But I couldn't fit it all into 350 words.

What I wanted to do, but didn't achieve, was acknowledge how cool it is that I have a brother who can not only bake a cake but invent his own cake flavours. Like the Apricot Cake he baked when we were young. I'm pretty sure it was just a Madiera cake with apricots added. But that's still invention.

I like that my brother bakes.

Last year he hand-made, and by hand-made I mean beating butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon - no easy feat, two dozen strawberry cupcakes for my nephew's 4th birthday. No electric beater in sight. Our Dad baked too. But that is another story.

Thanks Sam for inventing an Apricot Cake when we were little and giving me a great food memory!

This week I've included a little baking tip at the end of my column. Do you think I should make it a weekly thing? And I would like to thank the very lovely and talented Quinn & Katie Photography for the beautiful photo. x

Memories of an Apricot Tea Cake

Hello again. I hope you’ve been enjoying my column since Flavours launched. If you have questions or feedback you can email me at Please don’t be shy, I’d love to hear from you. (This applies to blog readers too!)

This week I’m sharing a recipe inspired by my brother Sam, who is a great cook and can make a mighty fine cake too. 

This Apricot Tea Cake is an ode to one Sam once made when I would have been around nine years old. The memory of that cake has stayed with me all this time and, until now, I’ve been unable to recreate it. But, after making some tweaks to a plum cake recently, that incredible cake from my childhood came back to me!

This cake is simple to make but impressive. There’s tang from the fruit, warmth from the spice and creaminess from the almonds. It’s amazing on its own or with cream and would make a spectacular tea accompaniment. It also keeps very well so you can enjoy it day after day.

Feel free to experiment with other stone fruit if you’d prefer. I think peaches would go down a treat.

Apricot Tea Cake
Recipe adapted by one from Carolyn Beth Weil, Bon Appetit July 2006.

70g ground almonds
185g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
225g sugar (plus 25g extra)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup apricot jam
About 10 - 12 apricots (or other stone fruit), stones removed and cut into quarters
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 175˚C. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin. Whisk together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Cream the butter and first measure of sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla then add the flour mixture until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Dollop and spread the apricot jam gently over the batter. Press the apricot slices, flesh side down, onto the jammy batter in a circular pattern around the edge and centre of the cake. Mix the cinnamon and remaining sugar and sprinkle over the apricots.

Bake for approx 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Weekly Tip: Different sized eggs will yield different results. I like to use large eggs (size 7). Eggs keep baking moist and provide structure so that your cakes have a nice even crumb and texture. 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds absolutely delcisious Dan. A) I wish I could bake or B) lived in Tauranga so I didn't have to and would just come and see you at the Markets and buy up everything :) Love what you are doing. B and Daisy xx