Monday, September 7, 2015

Apricot and Almond Cake

In the Ocean City ‘hood, we planned a little get-together to celebrate Labor Day and to welcome Fall, even though its official debut is a few weeks away.   The nice thing about not having to pack up and go home each week, or for the season, is that the end of the summer does not seem as final or gloomy.  There’s plenty of warm weather to be enjoyed and I’m looking forward to sitting on the beach enjoying the cool, crisp autumn air.

So, for the shindig, I contributed meatballs and baked ziti but I also wanted to make a dessert evocative of Fall. 

Perhaps figs will do.

So I searched a few of my reliable cooking sites and NYTimes cooking came through with the following recipe:

Younger daughter did not think this cake would appeal to some of the party-goers and suggested something chocolate.  If I could re-phrase her proposal it would sound something like this…”Mom, I want something chocolate, so please don’t waste your precious, shore-baking time making a not-too-sweet cake with ground almonds, butter, honey, and figs.  Just make something ooohy-gooey, delicious and chocolate and call it a day.”

Well, her wish almost came to fruition because I could not find figs.  I almost gave in to the cocoa request but thought to myself…”hmmmm, what would be a good substitute for figs?”  So I went to the market and browsed and take a look at these little jewels:

So I borrowed a mini chopper from a neighbor, ground up the almonds, and followed the recipe exactly as written but substituted sliced apricots for the sliced figs.  This cake is very, good, not too sweet and perfect with a cup of tea.  I found it to be just a little dry, so I’ll fix that next time by adding a little more melted butter (I adjusted the recipe below). But for this tasting, a scoop of coffee ice cream served along side compensated splendidly.

Sliced plums would also work well with this recipe and would be quite pretty!

Oh and, by the way, after all that, I forgot to bring the cake to the party so we just had to eat it ourselves!

Apricot and Almond Cake
by: NYTimes Cooking

5 tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing pan
1 cup natural raw almonds (not blanched)
¼ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon almond extract
4 ripe apricots, each sliced in fours (or 12 figs, sliced in half)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan or pie pan; set aside. Put almonds and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; pulse to combine.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, honey and almond extract. Add almond mixture and beat for a minute until batter is just mixed. Pour batter into pan.

Slice the apricots and arrange them cut-side up over the batter. Sprinkle the apricots with sugar and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden outside and dry at center when probed with a cake tester. Cool before serving.  

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