Summer is officially here, so let the BBQ parities begin! Good food, great friends, and of course lots of ice tea, beer, and cocktails. Be it in the backyard in the ‘burbs or a 20 stories up on rooftop in NYC, I’‘m ready to bring desserts for these occasion–and using seasonal fruits is an excellent way to get started.
You can always grill some peaches or toss some berries on top of ice cream for a quick sweet highlight to the meal. (Since I’m allergic to raw stone fruit, I prefer to bake/cook them into the dessert to make sure it’s something I can enjoy.)
Just a few simple whirls in the food processor, and you can come up with this Apricot Almond Cake. A quick sauté of the apricot brings out the natural flavor–plus the alcohol elevates the level of this dessert. This cake can be made a day or two ahead of time, it travels well, and it’s totally fine at outdoor temperatures. The host won’t have extra work when you arrive with this seasonal sweet party favor.
Apricot Almond Cake
yield: one 9-inch cake
2 tablespoons apricot preserve
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 pound small apricots, washed halved and pitted
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5-1/4 ounces)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (1-1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup (3-3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter , cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg , room temperature
1 large egg yolk , room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar for serving
1. Cook jam and rum in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until melted into a syrup, 1 minute. Add apricots, cut side down to the syrup and cook until the fruits soften and releases it’s juices, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool apricot mixture in pan for 15 minutes.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour 9-inch springform pan. Process sugar and almonds in food processor until nuts are finely ground, about 1 minute. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add eggs, extracts; process until smooth, about 15 seconds, scraping bowl if necessary.
3. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using a small off-set spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Stir apricot mixture to coat with syrup and arrange in a decorative pattern over surface of batter; leaving a 3/4-inch border. Bake until cake is golden brown and wooden skewer inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 40-50 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cake to loosen. Cool in pan on wire rack until just warm or to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into wedges and serve.