apricot and olive oil cake
With apricots in season I looked through my cookbooks to find something to bake. Last year I bought the book 'Made in Italy' by Silvia Colloca but until now I've not had time to make anything from the book. I watched the companion tv series and I remember Silvia making an apricot cake that was mixed in a saucepan.
I found the recipe in the book and here it is, Silvia Colloca's recipe for Apricot and olive oil cake - serves 8
170g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
100ml extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons mistrà or sambuca (optional; see note)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1⅓ cups self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
7-8 apricots, cut in half
flaked almonds, for sprinkling
fresh ricotta and honey, to serve (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Grease and flour a 21cm square or 27 x 21cm rectangular cake tin (or line it with baking paper).
Place the sugar, milk and lemon zest in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sugar has dissolved. Do not let the milk come to the boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla seeds, olive oil and liqueur (if using), then let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes.
Add the beaten eggs, flour and bicarbonate of soda and whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the apricot halves on top any way you like. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for 30-35 minutes or until pale golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool at room temperature for 1 hour before cutting. Serve just as it is or with honey-drizzled ricotta.
Notes: For an alcohol-free version, replace the liqueur with milk. If using very small apricots, layer quarters on top of each other so that they won't completely sink into the batter as it cooks.
The cake is extremely moist and tastes delicious but I think it could do with a little less liquid. My apricots were small so I made 2 layers of fruit as Silvia suggested, otherwise all the fruit would have sunk to the bottom of the tin. As the apricot season is so short here and the cake is so simple to put together, I'll make it again with either plums or nectarines as and play around with the quantity of liquid.
P. S I just bought a new oven! It means I won't have to use a dining room chair to keep the oven door shut with any longer. I'm also in the process of arranging a trip to Iceland in the middle of the year so I've been busy.
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,