I always look forward to apricot season, but I did not purchase one apricot last year. I never found the small, orange apricots I love; only large, hard, pale-colored fruit that just didn't look appetizing. I am always running across recipes, however, that endorse canned apricots. And why not? Once drained and patted dry with paper towels, a canned apricot bakes up beautifully. This little cake, as described by my daughter, is "flippin' sweet". Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and serve with sweetened whipped cream or homemade vanilla ice cream!
APRICOT ALMOND CAKE
adapted from a recipe in Gourmet Magazine
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 3/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
• 2/3 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 3 whole, canned apricots, drained and patted dry, then sliced thin
• 4 large organic egg whites, room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Butter well an 8-inch round cake pan. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, let it cool, then stir in the vanilla and the almond extracts. In a food processor, blend together the almonds, 2/3 cup sugar, and the flour until the almonds are ground fine. In a small bowl, toss the apricots with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt until they just hold stiff peaks, and fold in the almond mixture gently but thoroughly. Fold in the butter mixture (the batter at this point will deflate somewhat). Spread the batter into the cake pan and arrange the sliced apricots evenly over it. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a rack and let it cool, apricot side up, for 5 minutes before serving.