A few weeks ago, Alex and I had a rare Sunday afternoon free and we made the most of it by baking together. We made some spiced nuts, as well as a nut loaf, however the hero of the day was without a doubt this Apricot Almond Cake.
I loved the idea of this cake, with the fragrant cardamom, and pistachio crunch working in perfect harmony. It’s difficult to stop at one slice. I also found the apricot a revelation, the decorative top adds a lovely soft texture and the flavour while strong, doesn’t overpower the cake.
It was also a breeze to make, the only suggestion I would make is to absolutely taste as you go. We added cardamom as we went. I would also ensure you read the recipe in full as some of the components need time to cool. I’ve also suggested you can use either polenta or semolina, while different grains, semolina is finer and more delicate in flavour than polenta.
- 150g dried apricots
- 250ml cold water
- 2 cardamom pods (cracked)
- 200g ground almonds
- 50g fine polenta (not instant) or Semolina
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150g caster sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp rosewater
- Sunflower/Vegetable oil for greasing
- 2 teaspoons apricot jam (or rose petal jam)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2½ teaspoons very finely chopped pistachios
- Place the apricots into a small saucepan and cover with the water. Crack the cardamom pods with the back of a chef’s knife and add to the apricots. Heat over a low/medium heat and bring to the boil, and let it boil/simmer for 10 minutes or until the saucepan is just out of water. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease the sides of a 21cm spring-form tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
- Take 5 of the apricots, and gently tear in half and set aside. Remove the cardamom seeds, discarding the seeds and leave with the remaining apricots.
- Place the remaining apricots and cardamom seeds from the saucepan into a blender, adding the almonds, polenta/semolina, baking powder, sugar and eggs and blitz until combined.
- Scrape down the batter when combined and add 2 tsp’s of lemon juice, and rosewater and pulse until just combined.
- Arrange the 5 set aside apricots on the bottom of the cake tin. Gently transfer the cake batter to the tin and bake for 40 minutes. If the cake is starting to brown too quickly cover with foil. The cake will be ready when it starts to come away from the sides, and the top should feel firm when taped (if using a skewer, you should find it relatively clean with one or two crumbs).
- Remove from oven when cook and allow to cool in the tin.
- While the cake is cooling warm the apricot jam and add a teaspoon of lemon juice into the jam. Turn the cake out (so the apricots are the top of the cake) and then brush onto of the cake. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios and serve when cool.