Hmm, for a blog with cake in the title it feels like it’s been a while since I posted a cake recipe. It’s been a whole seven weeks since the Portuguese orange cake and my afternoon mug of tea has been missing its usual partner in crime. I’m nibbling on the last slice of this most recent cake and sipping a giant mug of Yorkshire tea as I write and trying in vain not to get too many crumbs over the desk, the keyboard and myself. It’s not a massively crumbly cake, the moist apricots help hold things together but I’m genetically destined to be a messy eater, just ask my mother. As a child I had cake crumbs in my tummy button more often than not.
I spotted this cake in the most recent BBC Good Food magazine which is always an excellent source of recipe inspiration and very dependable to boot. It’s not often that one of their recipes results in disaster and although I had my doubts about this one which called for you to dollop raw batter over a mostly cooked cake. It did, however, work out well requiring just a tad longer than expected to bake through which I chalk up to my slightly erratic, temporary oven rather than recipe error.
This cake was definitely a winner. Large chunks of juicy apricots lurk in a buttery almond sponge jacked up with ratafia biscuits (biscuits in cake, whoop!) which turn meltingly soft in the batter or pleasingly crunchy when scattered on top. You bake it in two stages, three quarters of the mix goes in the oven while you fold halved apricots and whole ratafias into the remaining batter. After 25 minutes, when the cake is largely done, you spread the remaining fruit-and-biscuit-crammed mixture over the top of the cake and bake again to form a sort of sticky, crunchy crust that prevents all the added goodies sinking to the bottom. Not something I’ve done before but definitely worth playing around with.
Apricot and ratafia cake
From BBC Good Food magazine May 2012
- 200g butter at room temperature
- 175g sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 x 410g tin of halved apricots in juice, drained. Chop 100g and leave the rest whole
- 85g ratafia or amaretti biscuits. 25g crushed, the rest left whole or in large bits
Grease and line a 22cm round tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one then add the almond extract.
Sift over the flour and baking powder fold in. Set aside ¼ of the batter.
Into the ¾ batter fold the 100g of chopped apricots and 25g of crushed biscuits. Spread into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes.
Stir the remaining apricot halves and biscuits into the batter you set aside. After the cake has baked for 25 minutes dollop the batter on top and spread as evenly as possible (this is a little hard when there are so many lumps in the batter!).
Return to the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes or until the top is golden and a cocktail stick comes out clean. (I found this step took more like 35 minutes.)
Leave the cake to cool in the tin then remove and serve. This is at its best the same day but will keep covered at room temperature for another day or two. Being a sponge it stales fairly quickly.