Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bon Appétit: Apricot-Almond Cake

I found a bunch of ripe apricots at the grocery store today, which means I immediately filled a bag full of them.  No, I had no idea what I was going to actually make with them, but that hardly matters.  When nature provides succulent sweets, you just take them and find a way.  I knew I wanted to do something with almonds.  Not exactly sure why, but I probably saw it in one of the billion cookbooks I've browsed in my lifetime.  Except now that I actually needed it, I could find exactly zero appetizing apricot-almond cake recipes.  So after tearing my way through Google images, I finally came across a pseudo-recipe for what looked like a delicious apricot cake.  A bunch of intelligent guesses later relating to actually accomplishing what was pictured, and I had this amazing specimen.  Serve with lots of fresh whipped cream.

Apricot-Almond Cake
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine, April 2015, from an idea by Claire Saffitz, Senior Associate Food Editor

7 large, ripe apricots
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 (7-ounce) tube almond paste
¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup sliced almonds
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Cut a small X in the skin at the bottom of each apricot.  Immerse each apricot in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, then immediately drain and plunge into an ice water bath.  Halve, remove and discard stones, and peel the apricots.  Keep 10 halves for the top of the cake and chop the remaining 4 halves into small pieces.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch-diameter springform pan and sprinkle with sugar, tapping out excess.  Combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Place 1 cup butter, almond paste, ¾ cup sugar, and Grand Marnier in a large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; reserve pod for another use. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to blend first egg before adding second. Beat until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, followed by yogurt. Beat, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed, just to combine (batter will be thick). Add in chopped apricots and mix to combine.  Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth batter and arrange reserved apricot halves over top; sprinkle with sliced almonds and remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Place springform pan on a large rimmed baking sheet (to catch any rogue juices) and bake, rotating once, until cake is golden brown and apricots on top are soft, 70–80 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool before removing from pan.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Makes 12 servings

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