I’ll admit. When I first started baking this cake, I was fairly convinced it was going to become yet another one of my great-kitchen-disasters. After I’d finished making it, I proudly posted a picture of my handiwork on Instagram, and then felt slightly embarrassed when my friends informed me that it looked more like a pizza than a cake. You see, I’ve never poached apricots before, and so totally failed to realise that because they are soft and fleshy and sweet, one shouldn’t boil the arse out of them for five minutes. That I managed to do this and they didn’t fall apart is testament to their ripe deliciousness, and also a compelling reason as to why you should all go out and make this cake. Because if it this recipe can withstand me making it while deep in the throes of a killer cold (and tripping my tits off on a lot of cold and flu medication), it can probably withstand anything.
And then there’s also the fact that it’s absolutely delicious and a doddle to make. Apricots are poached in a syrup of honey and cardamom, enriching all of their natural tartness with some sweetness and spice. They are then enrobed in a beautifully pale cake batter which is full of greek yoghurt and a touch of vanilla essence. Once the cake had emerged from the oven, I decided to poke some holes in it with a toothpick and pour the leftover syrup over it, lending the sponge an amazing – slightly sticky – moistness.
Each slice of this is a riot of different flavours – a pale, fluffy vanilla crumb and honey sweetness tempered with spice from the cardamom and bursts of tartness from the apricots. It’s so good in fact, that I managed to eat half of it all by myself on the day I made it, and will probably eat the other half too with a cup of strong coffee. A dessert like this is too good to share.
APRICOT UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE (Makes 10 medium sized slices)
You will need:
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 200g unsalted butter
- 4 medium sized eggs
- 100ml greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
For the apricots:
- 13 ripe apricots, sliced and pitted.
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 100ml water
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- The seeds from four cardamom pods, crushed
- Grease a medium sized springform cake tin well, and heat your oven to 180 degrees c/Gas Mark 4.
- Now, poach your apricots. Place the water, sugar, honey, vanilla essence and cardamom pods in a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the apricots, and reduce the mixture to a simmer. After two minutes, take the pan off the heat and cover with a lid. Keep an eye on your apricots, and try not to poach them for too long – you want them to retain a bit of firmness.
- Cream your butter and sugar with hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the greek yoghurt and vanilla essence. Sieve in the flour and baking powder, and fold into the wet ingredients until a thick batter has been formed.
- Remove the apricots from the syrup, and place at the bottom of the tin, cut side down (this makes the cake look prettier when you flip it over. As you may have realised from my photographs, I cleverly forgot to do this). Spoon the batter over the fruit, and level with a wooden spoon. Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes until it is golden and springy (insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake to check if it’s done. If you remove it and it’s clean, you’re ready to go). Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- While the cake is cooling, simmer your leftover apricot poaching liquid until it becomes a thick sticky syrup. Poke some holes into the cake with a toothpick, and pour the syrup over it until it is fully soaked up. Turn the cake out onto a place, slice and serve with leftover greek yoghurt.