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