I love the tartness of apricots. This wonderful Apricot Almond Cake is made with canned apricot halves, a delicious way to use this my favorite fruit year round. A sprinkling of orange flower water gives it a Mediterranean flair. Better yet, it is quick to prepare and pretty much foolproof to make. You will need an 8-inch solid metal cake pan (don’t use a spring-form pan — it will leak) or my favorite baking vessel for this cake, a seasoned cast iron skillet.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease the skillet or cake pan with butter and liberally smear the bottom with the extra tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with the extra tablespoon of sugar. Arrange the drained apricots in the pan, cut side up, neatly and tightly in a single layer, reserving any leftovers or discarded broken fruits. Set aside while you make the batter.
3. Put the softened butter, sugar, eggs and orange water, if using, into a large mixing bowl. Sift the whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder over it. Beat together with an electric whisk until well blended. If the mixture seems stiff, add a tablespoon of milk or a little of the reserved apricot syrup to bring it to dropping consistency — where a small amount of the batter will fall off a spoon if gently shaken.
4. Spoon the batter gently over the apricots with a spatula and smooth to cover them. Bake on a middle shelf for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. While the cake is baking, take an immersion blender and liquidize any discarded apricots with the reserved syrup. Add a few drops of orange flower water, if desired. Pour into a small saucepan and gently simmer until the syrup thickens by about a third. Set aside in a jug.
6. Let the cake sit for 5 minutes. Run a knife round the edges to loosen it, then set a plate over the top and turn the whole thing upside down. Tap all over the bottom of the skillet and lift it off the cake. You will have a cake with caramelized apricot topping sitting on the plate. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve warm with the reserved sauce, and for extra richness, a dollop of marscarpone or Greek yogurt.
Ann's Tips and Tricks
If you cannot find whole wheat pastry flour then substitute half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. Just swapping in whole wheat flour will result in a drier and grittier cake.
Eat all sweet, sugary treats in moderation. A little bit of what you like does you good, but don’t overdo it!
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