Apricots are in the house! Is anyone else excited? A good apricot is one of my favorite treats. And there is such a small window of time between late spring and early summer when the apricots are just perfect – fragrant and quietly sweet and juicy. I know I’m late to the party, but I’ve just discovered Blenheim apricots and I am smitten. I haven’t had a bad one yet. They are so pleasant (and pretty!). I can’t stop thinking about them.
The original plan was to make jam. But what I really wanted was an apricot cake. Actually, what I really, really wanted was an almond apricot cake. So I tried the first recipe I found. It was fine, but if I’m being completely honest, it wasn’t anything to write home about. Then a few days later, while working on a scone experiment, I came across another recipe that totally fit the bill.
This beauty comes from Tartine. It’s an almond breakfast cake, which is essentially a coffee cake, made with almond paste and almond meal and welcomes any seasonal fruit to be scattered over the batter, my choice of course being apricots, though I am certain that blueberries would be another fantastic choice. This is a very decadent cake, dense and buttery in the best possible way. I love the richness and the almond flavor of the cake paired with the jammy, sweet-tart pockets of fresh apricot. The almond crumble is excellent and adds a nice contrast in texture. I plan to use it on other streusel-topped goodies in the future. I also plan on making this cake again and again. I’ve already made it twice.
apricot almond breakfast cake
from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson
makes one 9-inch cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup natural almond meal
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (6 ounces) almond paste
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
8-10 apricots, depending on size, pitted and halved
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, preferably with a removable bottom or a springform pan. Set aside.
for the crumble topping:
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until creamy. Add the flour, almond meal, sugar, and salt and mix only until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. You do not want a smooth mixture; it should have a crumbly appearance. Transfer the crumble topping to another bowl, making sure to scrape the mixing bowl clean. Set aside.
for the cake:
Place the almond paste in the same mixing bowl used for the crumble topping (no need to wash the bowl first). Mix on low speed until the paste is broken up. Add the sugar and gradually increase the speed to medium. Continue to mix until the sugar breaks up the almond paste fully and there are no more lumps. Add the butter and mix until creamy, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer as needed to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs all at once, then increase the speed to medium and mix just until everything is combined. Do not overmix.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan. Place the apricot halves over the batter, cut side up. Distribute the almond crumble evenly over the entire cake. (At this point you can cover the assembled cake loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, remove the cake from the fridge and leave it out at room temperature for about 45 minutes before baking.)
Bake the cake until the crumble topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 1 hour and 20 minutes (the book says 40 minutes, but my cake took much longer, possibly because of the amount of liquid from the apricots). Start checking the cake after 1 hour, and then every 10 minutes going forward. It is difficult to test the doneness of the cake with a cake tester, as the fruit is moist and the tester wont come out clean. Don’t worry about overbaking – the fruit and almond paste will prevent the cake from becoming dry. If you are not sure if the cake is done, insert a small knife into the center and gently push some of the cake aside to see if it is cooked. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before releasing it from the pan and serving.