Let the Fruit Sink In: Apricot and Almond Cake with Cinnamon Topping

It's so hard for me to resist buying apricots when they show up at the farmers market. This year, my first apricot dessert of the season was Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh's "Apricot and Almond Cake with Cinnamon Topping" from Sweet. Apricots and almonds are such a good combination -- although to be honest, it's difficult for me to think of any fruit that doesn't pair well with almonds.

To make the cake batter, you beat room temperature butter and sugar; add eggs, followed by lemon zest, vanilla extract, and almond extract; and alternately add the sifted dry ingredients (flour, salt, and I added baking powder since I used all-purpose flour instead of self-raising flour) and sour cream. You scrape the batter into a pan with a removable bottom that is lined with parchment; sprinkle on ground almonds; arrange apricots halves (cut side up) on top; spoon over a cinnamon topping made from melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and eggs; and bake.
The recipe instructs you to serve this cake warm, with cream alongside. I took it to the office the morning after I made it, so I served it at room temperature. My cake didn't look like the one pictured in the cookbook. In the photo, the apricots in the cake have migrated to the middle and even the bottom of the cake. My apricots stayed on top of the cake batter, directly beneath the cinnamon topping. Oddly enough, the recipe headnote mentions that you can use other types of stone fruit in this cake but warns you not to use pieces of fruit that are too heavy or large, because "you don't want them to sink."

The apricots I used were very ripe, so the fruit in the cake was quite juicy. I liked the cake and loved the bold cinnamon topping, although I was expecting (and would have preferred) more almond flavor. And I thought the ratio of cake to fruit to topping wasn't quite right. -- there was too much cake. Overall, it evoked a sour cream coffee cake with a thin layer of fresh apricots at the top. I think this cake would have been better if the apricots had ended up in the middle of the cake, of if there had been less cake batter. The cake was good, but not a standout.

Recipe: "Apricot and Almond Cake with Cinnamon Topping" from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.

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msricekc said…
For a crispier topping use egg whites and bread flour instead of whole egg and AP flour. Also try to use firmer apricots. They get soft during the bake. Besides they are much more tart if they are less than fully ripe.