The cool change of late has seen me spending more time in my kitchen and, to Peter's delight, I've been baking almost every day. As I whisk and stir, I'm reminded often of my mother, and in my heart I sense that I'm morphing into her likeness. Sure enough, when I catch a glimpse of my own reflection in the glass on the oven door, I see a contented old duck in bare feet and a comfortable house dress, tea towel in hand... just like my lovely mum. The only things missing are an apron and bandana. Oh, and a vast ocean view through the kitchen window.
Speaking of birds with short legs, sometimes all your ducks line up in a row, if you understand my meaning. In this particular case, I recently watched Silvia Colloca prepare this apricot and olive oil cake on her SBS television show not long after I was gifted a bottle of lemon agrumato from folks at The Essential Ingredient in Canberra. Meanwhile, the potted lemons on my verandah are ripening, AND the apricots at my local Aldi supermarket are inexpensive and quite superb.
1+1+1+1 = Good Things, yes?! I was destined to bake that cake!
In my adaptation of Silvia's recipe, I use less sugar (I tend to do that with much of my baking these days). I also left out the liqueur and substituted the full bodied lemon agrumato for the extra virgin olive oil. With whole crushed lemons, the Essential Ingredient agrumato is truly exquisite and I knew it would be a good addition.
The first time I baked this cake, the apricots (which had simply been cut in half, per the instructions in the original recipe) sank right to the bottom. Of course, I should have realised. Nonetheless, it was a delicious torta. On the second baking, I cut the apricots into quarters and dusted them lightly with flour before popping them onto the top of the cake batter. What can I tell you. Torta con albicocca e agrumato limone Mk II was absolutely perfect!
APRICOT CAKE WITH LEMON AGRUMATO
(Torta con albicocca e agrumato limone)
2/3 cup vanilla infused caster sugar
230 mls low fat milk
100 mls lemon agrumato*
2 free range eggs, lightly whisked
200g self raising flour plus a little extra for dusting the fruit
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
400g apricots, cut into quarters (6-7 apricots)
1/2 cup flaked almonds, to finish
icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease a 20cm square cake tin and line it with baking paper.
Combine the caster sugar and milk in a medium sized saucepan and warm it, stirring gently, over a low heat for a few minutes, taking care that it doesn't boil. Remove the saucepan from the stovetop, add the lemon agrumato (or zest and EVOO), and allow the mixture to cool for around ten minutes.
Add the beaten eggs, flour and bicarb to the milk and agrumato in the saucepan. Whisk this mixture until you have a creamy batter, free from lumps. Transfer the cake batter to the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
Lightly dust the apricot quarters with some flour. This will ensure they don't sink to the bottom of the cake. Working quickly, arrange the apricot pieces evenly over the cake batter. Then sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a skewer tests clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool briefly in the tin, before placing onto a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Serves 8-10.
* Or use 100 mls extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and the finely chopped zest of one lemon instead of the Agrumato.
Tell me dear fellow cooks and readers, do you love it when your ducks line up in a row? What has been your most recent experience with this? And do you ever get the feeling that you are turning into your mother? Thank you for taking a moment to pop in and leave a comment. I truly appreciate it. xox
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.