Fresh apricot cake
An easy, summery, crowd-pleasing cake.
Israel’s apricot season is short, just a few weeks in early summer. We find all kinds of ways to eat those little golden fruits – apart from just eating them fresh, out of hand, of course. Householders make apricot jam, and cafés serve all kinds of individual apricot tarts and cakes, hurrying to enjoy the unique sweet/tart flavor while it lasts. Even the pits have a special traditional use in Israel: mothers save them for the little ones, who collect and treasure them and play complicated sidewalk games with them.
This apricot cake recipe resembles a cobbler in that it’s made of a quickly assembled batter topped with fresh fruit. Cobblers require cooked fruit, but this recipe saves you a step. Plus, the flavor of the fruit comes through more sharply this way.
Notice that I recommend using butter. You can substitute margarine, but my feeling is that apricots are so good, they deserve butter.
Store leftover cake in the refrigerator, to avoid spoilage. Simply bring it back up to room temperature to serve again, or tuck a layer of tin foil over the top and pop it into a hot oven for 5 minutes or so. Whether freshly baked or heated up, serve warm, with vanilla ice cream. Delicious.
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- Zest from 1 medium lemon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 14 medium apricots
- 2 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons apricot or strawberry jam for glazing
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175° C).
Cut the apricots into halves.
Line a 9x9 cake pan with baking parchment. You can also use an 11-inch pan.
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder and salt. Sift into the butter/egg mixture, beating well.
Add the buttermilk and mix well again.
Spread the batter evenly into the pan. Place the halved apricots, cut side down, in rows or in circles on top of the batter.
Sprinkle the two tablespoons sugar over the apricots.
Bake 30-40 minutes.
Melt the jam over low heat and spread it over the cake while both are still hot.
Tips and notes:
- You may omit the extra sugar sprinkled over the apricots if they are sweet rather than tart.
- Cake baked in the larger size baking pan will require only 30 minutes baking time.
- You can make old-time cobbler with this recipe. All you need to do is cook the apricots with 1/2 cup sugar until they’re soft, then pour them while hot over the batter, then bake. The batter will need less sweetening, so reduce the sugar in it to 2/3 cup.
- Apricots and other summer fruit can be pre-cooked and frozen to match with this batter for future cobblers.