So now we’ve come around once again to my favorite part of the fresh fruit season. Apricots and cherries have arrived and there’s the scent of peaches sure to follow. And sometime soon we may be able to enjoy the heavenly vision of figs! We are in the zone.
Apricots are looking very good right now. My first purchase was for the pure pleasure of eating them plain and simple. Wow, are they deliciously tart and sweet. My second batch made it into this very simple upside down cake. And, of course, there will be a third and a fourth batch, etc., etc.
Rather than the usual brown sugar and butter coating (which, by the way, is very delicious), I decided to float the apricot halves with their best buddies, honey scented with vanilla and cinnamon. The cake is also enhanced with toasted almonds to give it only a very slight hint of texture and the flavor that goes so well with so many of the stone fruits of the season. This would be a good dessert with a dollop of almond flavored whipped cream or served simply as a brunch cake on a sleepy weekend morning.
Apricots are notorious for keeping their beautiful visit short and sweet. Get yourselves to the market and behold the best that nature has to offer!
- I like to use sliced almonds rather than whole ones for this kind of cake because they grind with the flour to a finer crumb.
- Toast the sliced almonds in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for about 6 - 8 minutes. Watch them closely as they will burn very, very quickly.
- I use 3 tablespoons of honey for the topping as the cake bakes. After the cake is baked and has been turned out of the pan, I use another 2 tablespoons of honey to glaze the top of the cake. If I used all 5 tablespoons for the bottom of the pan, the cake would be pretty soggy. Apricots become even more tart once baked so the cake does need the extra 2 tablespoons of honey glaze.
- Lining the bottom of the cake pan with parchment helps ensure your cake will turn out with the topping in tact.
Apricot Almond Upside Down Cake
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) honey
1/2 oz (1 tablespoon) butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 – 8 apricots
2 – 3 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
1 cup (5 oz) flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) toasted sliced almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz (8 tablespoons) butter @ room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
2 large eggs @ room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk @ room temperature
2 tablespoons (1 oz) honey, for glazing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” x 2 1/2” cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment.
For the cake topping, place the 3 tablespoons of honey, butter and cinnamon in a saucepan and heat until melted, whisking to combine. Take off the heat and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pour into the bottom of the cake pan, then lift the pan and swirl to distribute evenly.
Slice the apricots in half and place cut side down on top of the honey butter mixture. Fill in the gaps with a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds.
For the cake batter, place the flour, 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the almonds are finely ground. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and almond extracts and blend. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl and mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add a third of the flour mixture alternately with half the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Spread the batter evenly over apricots.
Bake until a toothpick tests clean, about 42 – 45 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the cake carefully and remove the parchment.
Warm 2 tablespoons honey and brush on the surface of the cake to glaze and sweeten. Cool completely.