Happy New Year to you and your families. I hope the year ahead is happy and full of delicious food…!
Apricot Madeira Cake
- 100 g soft butter [DF: use coconut oil]
- 1/2 cup rapadura* or raw sugar + extra for sprinkling if the apricots are tart
- 3 room temperature free-range eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup white flour [GF: use 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/4 cup tapioca / corn flour]
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup ground nuts - almonds/ brazil nuts/ hazelnuts
- 8 ripe apricots halved
- Preheat oven 180C. Line and grease a 25cm spring-form cake tin.
- Cream butter and sugar in a mixer. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time with the mixer going.
- Sift flours and baking powder together into a bowl, add the ground nuts. Fold the dry ingredients through the wet mixture to combine. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Arrange the halved apricots on top - and sprinkle with a little sugar if needed (I didn't and the cake tasted plenty sweet).
- Bake 45 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the tin and serve warm with yogurt or cool on a cake rack. Keeps well for several days in a cake tin.
We have a GIGANTIC apricot tree in our backyard, reaching some 5 meters high, most of the fruit is eaten by the birds. Lucky birds, not so lucky our tummies. Now, there is reason for it’s height… When we bought the house some 7 odd years ago, the previous owners told us it was an apricot tree but it did not fruit. Since it is on the south fence of our property and gives us some privacy we left it alone. For 5 years, as expected, the tree didn’t fruit and just grew larger. Then surprise!… last summer ripe fruit on the branches. We didn’t noticed them earlier as we hadn’t expected the tree to fruit. These were the most sweet and juicy apricots I have ever eaten. Real apricots, nothing like the picked-green-and ripened-en-route versions in the supermarket.
So the question is, why did our tree suddenly start fruiting after a decade or so of no fruit? Our neighbour had the most feasible theory to this conundrum. The bird life. Kev (our neighbour) theorised that in previous years little wax-eye birds have feasted on the blossoms in spring quite possibly damaging the future fruit buds. Last year we had new bird life, a family of swallows – actually nesting in the eaves of our house – had claimed our property as their territory and no more wax-eyes to be seen. Sounds like a plausible reason for the sudden apricots on our non-fruiting tree!
And lucky for us the swallows came back this year too – had another lot of babies which we watched take their first flight – and kept the wax-eyes at bay. So on Christmas eve we harvested our second round of flavoursome apricots. Sadly, we ended up with even less fruit than last year as the birds had another welcome feast on the bulk of them… (Note to self, prune the apricot tree this winter and get some bird netting.) But there were enough to bake a cake…