Saturday, January 5, 2013

Apricot and Almond Cake


There are times when one needs a good solid cake. Claudia Roden's orange and almond cake, while spectacular, has been done to death in our milieu, and yet I am still an absolute sucker for cake made with almond meal. This month, casting about for something to take to dinner with friends, my eye lit upon the latest bucket of apricots sitting in the kitchen. I stewed them up, took out a great dollop and, using the formula from pear and almond cake, made an apricot and almond cake.

Mmmm. The cake came out tinted gold, and was deeply redolent with apricots. We ate it for dinner with double cream and it was spectacular; it was also very good over the next day or two, demolished in great chunks until there was nothing left. The almond meal renders it very moist, and so the cake keeps well.

The recipe calls for slightly fewer apricots than a Fowler's No. #20 jar, so if you have already preserved apricots, particularly as purée, the cake will take only minutes to prepare. The remaining apricots in the jar are a perfect addition to plain yogurt – or indeed, you could warm them slightly and serve them with the cake.

You can see from the photograph that I cooked my cake slightly too long. My dinner companions, old friends all, reckoned they loved the slightly chewy bits; they're the bits I call overcooked. However, I'm never entirely convinced by the enthusiasm of good and faithful friends, so I recommend you check your cake from 35 minutes; don't leave it too long!

Apricot and Almond Cake

- 8 eggs
- 325g ground almonds
- 275g lightly stewed apricots
- 275g golden caster sugar
- a squeeze of lemon
- 40g slivered almonds

If you have not already stewed your apricots, do so now and leave them to cool. (I recommend making extra and using it as a sauce on the cake, or dolloped onto tomorrow's muesli, or swirled into a late night yogurt.)

Grease and line a 25cm spring form pan. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place everything bar the slivered almonds into a food processor, and whizz until you have a batter. Pour the resulting glop into the pan. Sprinkle with slivered almonds. Slip into the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin on a baking rack. Eat plain for afternoon tea; with cream for dinner; or with a black coffee for elevenses.

Adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson in her terrific book, Feast: Food that celebrates life, itself a variation on Claudia Roden's orange and almond cake in The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

(Backyard: apricots, eggs, lemon. Somewhere in Australia: almonds, sugar.)

Feast: Food that celebrates life The New Book of Middle Eastern Food


  1. Hi Alison,
    I need to make a dairy free cake to take for dessert at a friend's place tomorrow - I took plums from her tree with the promise of baking with them - but I've been dreading the taste of nuttelex in the batter cake I would normally make. Any suggestions for modifying this one for plums?
    Cheers, and happy new year, Rachel K

    1. Hi Rachel, A too-late reply, as I am on hols and checking things sporadically... anyhoo, I would just substitute plums for apricots by weight (plums and almonds, can't go wrong), and maybe add a dash of cinnamon or cloves or vanilla. Not knowing your usual recipe I'm running a risk here, but another option is to stick with the old fave but subbing plain veg oil, or even a nut oil, in lieu of butter - I find many cake recipes can bear this substitution very well. alison.

    2. Try substituting a light flavoured olive oil...I have seeen this done in fruit'll have to ask mrs Google about proportions and measures though!

  2. Pleased to stumble across this dairy and gluten free recipe. Was looking for a way to use my apricots that are about to go off and this looks lovely. Reminds me of the classic orange and almond cake that is similarly easy to make. Thank you, Eleanor