When life gives you apricots, you should just eat them. But when you still have more apricots than you know what to do with a week later, and they are in danger of going off, you should make cake with them.
A soft, caramelly number would be perfect. Perhaps with some ground almonds to give a hint of marzipan and add extra moistness.
And if it was served with vanilla ice cream it would be just about perfect.
So, that’s what I intended to do yesterday, with some urgency once I discovered that the Captain’s daughter was coming over for lunch with her 2 year old daughter too. But we had no butter. So the Captain was instructed to get a pack of butter when he picked up the papers. And it had to be real butter, not some spread masquerading as butter.
He returned with a plastic tub, which did not bode well. But he proclaimed that it was Lurpak, so it had to be ok. It was Lurpak Spreadable, in my mind not quite the same as butter. And when I looked at the ingredient list, it was clear it wasn’t actually butter – it is only 69% butter, with 25% vegetable oil. That’s what makes it spreadable, adding a product which is liquid at room temperature.
However, on closer inspection it said that it could be used in baking, so I gave it (and the Captain) the benefit of the doubt.
Upside down apricots in a cake
For the upside downy bit:
- Some apricots – at least 6, preferably about a dozen, Or of course you could substitute all manner of other fruit – pineapple, peach, apples, cherries would all be nice
- About 2oz Lurpak spreadable, or softened butter
- About 2oz soft light brown sugar
For the cake mix:
- 6oz Lurpak spreadable (or use softened butter)
- 6oz soft light brown sugar
- 3 medium free range eggs
- 5oz SR flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 2oz ground almonds
- A splosh of almond extract (optional)
Butter the sides of an 8” square cake tin. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5.
- Beat together the 2oz sugar and ‘butter’ until nice and soft and spreadable
- Spread this mixture on the base of the cake tin, in an even layer
- Cut the apricots in half and place them cut side down on top of the sugar-butter mixture
- Beat together the remaining butter and sugar
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in the almond extract
- Mix the flour, baking powder and ground almonds in a bowl and then add to the buttery mixture, and beat all together
- Dollop the cake mixture into the tin, on top of the apricots, and spread it into the corners. Ideally, create a small well in the middle, which will keep the cake from rising too much in the middle.
- Place the cake tin on a baking sheet, in case some of the caramel overflows. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until the centre of the cake feels firm, and no longer wobbly. You may need to cover the cake with a tin foil hat for the last 10 minutes or so, if it looks like it is getting too brown (burnt).
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so in the tin. To turn the cake out slide a palette knife around the edge of the tin, to loosen the cake from the sides, then place a plate on top of the tin and carefully, but swiftly, turn it over so the tin is now on top of the plate. If you’ve buttered the tin properly it will glide out. If not, you’ll be having jigsaw cake with the bits all vaguely squidged back together. It’ll still taste nice though.
If you’ve managed to plan your day well, then this will be delicious served warm with some thick greek yoghurt, or crème fraiche. Or the aforementioned vanilla icecream.
And who knew? Substituting butter for Lurpak spreadable works perfectly well – this cake was more moist and much lighter than I expected (perhaps also due to the addition of baking powder). The flavour of butter and caramel was strong enough to come through the dominant almond-ness, but as a fan of marzipan that really worked for me. And the apricots? Well, they looked great, and the sliver of soft fruit melted in the mouth and eased my conscience, contributing towards my five a day.
All in all, a success.