I had plans to make a Venetian carrot cake the other day (we’ve got a bit of a backlog of veg box carrots piling up…) but on my way home picked up a punnet of rosy apricots for a mere quid. They called out to me to use them in a cake, so I shelved the carrot plans and instead made an apricot upside-down cake, of sorts. I wasn’t expecting them to sink, but they did, and I like it that way – they turned from their not-quite-soft-enough raw state to succulent, tangy, juicy orange jewels, embedded in a dense almondy sponge with a moist crumb and an almost caramelised top (blobs of butter and more Demerara sugar would boost this.) The raspberries running through the cake are nice enough, and great if you’ve got them on hand, but I might try substituting them for chopped up apricot next time if I don’t have any berries in the house, I imagine it would be just as good that way.
150g ground almonds
100g SR flour
1 tsp. baking powder
70g butter (room temperature if possible)
150g golden caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 2 mandarins (or 1 orange)
2 tbsp. Demerara sugar
5 apricots, halved
1 tsp. almond essence
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Into a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. With a fork, stir through the ground almonds, citrus zest and nutmeg.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and use a fork to beat together along with the almond essence. Add the egg, a little at a time, to the creamed butter and sugar, mixing on high with an electric whisk. Don’t over whisk – just do it enough to combine everything. Then, gently fold through the raspberries.
Grease and line your cake pan (unless you’re using a silicone one.) Sprinkle the Demerara sugar evenly over the base, then arrange the apricots, skin side touching the base. Spoon over the batter (it will be quite stiff – don’t worry about that), and level with a palette knife if necessary.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. You may want to check the cake after around twenty minutes to make sure the top isn’t browning too fast – if it is, cover with some foil.
When done, remove from the oven and cool for ten minutes in the pan, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.