I'm always pleased when apricot season comes around but I'm usually left disappointed by the lack of flavour in them. How happy was I then to find here in Alba, these lovely local apricots that actually tasted like apricots and not soggy cardboard! Besides enjoying them as they are, I've teamed them with the remains of my preserved amarene cherries to create an indulgent treat.
For the topping:
fresh apricots, halved
150 grams soft brown sugar
75 grams butter, cubed
For the cake:
250 grams plain flour
1 sachet baking powder for cakes
150 grams caster sugar
125 grams melted butter, cooled
Make the topping:
Place the butter and sugar into a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Line a 20cm cake pan with baking paper - pour in the hot topping and tilt the cake pan to form a even layer of topping. Carefully arrange the apricot halves, cut side facing down, over the topping. Use the amarene to fill in any gaps between the apricots.
Make the cake:
Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl - add the caster sugar, eggs and cooled butter and beat - pour in enough milk to form a smooth, spoonable batter.
Spread the batter carefully over the apricots, then level the surface with a palette knife.
Bake in a preheated 170°C oven until golden and cooked through - about 45 minutes. If you find the surface is browning too quickly, lower the heat and cover the cake with foil.
Once cooked, let it sit in the pan for a few minutes before turning out onto your serving plate.
It is best served warm, though it is perfectly delicious when cold. The good thing about this cake mix is that you can reheat it in the microwave if you prefer to serve it warm.