Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Apple and Apricot Cake

I got carried away by the success of the Cranberry-Date Crumble Squares, and tried another baking recipe, using cooked red lentils, from the same website. Unfortunately, this time I produced something with the density and appearance of a house brick, which was even rejected by the garden birds, and ended up in the food waste recycling.

After that disaster, I needed a fast, fool proof recipe to restore my confidence - this cake is very fast to put together, although it does need quite a long baking time - plus I've been making it for years and it never fails. It was ideal for fitting into a day when I hadn't planned any baking time.

150g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar - divided 150/50
1 large egg
300g SR flour
30g chopped toasted hazelnuts
80g soft dried apricots, cut into slices with scissors
2 or 3 apples - I used 2 small coxes and a Bramley cooking apple - peeled, cored and sliced.
icing sugar to serve - about 1 teaspoon

Preheat oven to 180C, and grease and base-line a 20cm springform tin.

Melt the butter  in a large bowl in the microwave. If it becomes really hot, leave to cool until it's not much hotter than hand-hot.
Mix in the 150g portion of sugar and the egg, stirring until well mixed.
Add the flour and mix to a soft smooth dough.
Put 1/3 of the dough into a separate bowl and mix in the chopped hazelnuts.
Place the larger plain portion of dough into the baking tin and spread evenly over the base and also creating a small wall of dough around the edge, to hold in any fruit juices.

In a small bowl, mix the apples, dried apricots and remaining 50g sugar. Put the fruit in an even layer over the dough base.

The remaining dough, with the added nuts, needs to be crumbled and spread  over the fruit to make a thin topping layer. It may not be possible to fill all the gaps, but it's best not to leave any large gaps around the edges.  (See this photo from a previous recipe) The dough spreads as it bakes, but gaps around the edge may leak fruit juice and cause the cake to stick in the tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the cake is golden brown and feels solid. Cool in the tin, then remove and dust with icing sugar to serve

The cake dough for this recipe bakes to something between pastry and a cookie. It's also a little scone-like and is what I imagine an American Strawberry Shortcake recipe to be like. This makes the cake crumb quite dense and dry, and not oversweet, but the cake is kept moist by the layer of fresh fruit in the centre. The combination of apples, dried apricots and hazelnuts was very tasty.

This cake makes a good dessert, as well as a tea-time cake, and almost any fruit can be used in the centre, although you might want to add a little ground rice or cornflour to any fruit which produces a lot of juice as it cooks.


Snowy said...

This sounds just the thing with a coffee or cuppa as well as a dessert. Like the combination of flavours too. Another one to try.

belleau kitchen said...

oh I don't know, this looks good to me!