Happy New Year to you and your families. I hope the year ahead is happy and full of delicious food…!

Apricot Madeira Cake

This cake is super moist so therefore keeps well for several days... if it lasts that long! Serve with yogurt to offset the sweetness of the cake. If you haven't got sweet apricots on hand, substitute with plums, peaches, cherries, nectarines... I haven't tried it yet, however slices of apple or pear for those of you reading this in the Northern Hemisphere would work just fine too.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes


  • 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.


I used rapadura sugar so hence the darkness of the mixture. Rapadura is an unrefined sugar, popular for its unique caramel flavour. It is produced by simply evaporating the water from the sugar cane juice. It has higher nutritional value than white sugar as it retains most of the natural vitamins and minerals.

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…

Apricot Madeira Cake | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Apricot Madeira Cake | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Apricot Madeira Cake | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN


Join the Conversation

  1. I have had the same puzzling experience with our apricot tree also! Never knew until reading this that I was due to the birds. And I agree the apricots taste (when we do get one or two) AMAZING!
    Your cake looks delicious.
    Welcome to KMB 🙂

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Thanks for stopping by Widge. It might be the case, it might not be the case of the birds but it seems to be a good theory. Enjoy those precious few apricots 🙂

  2. Thanks Nicola, off to give this delicious looking recipe a go. 🙂

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Enjoy Leonie, I am going to make it again soon with our greengage plums ripe any day 🙂

  3. How lucky you are with apricots so success fruiting in your backyard. We have tried to grow apricots in our home orchard to no avail. They don’t like our climate here. Sadly, that is my husband’s favourite stonefruit. I love the combination of cake and fruits. Lovely with a scoop of soy vanilla ice cream. Yum!!

    Have a great day, Nicola.

  4. Fab entry for Sweet NZ, I haven’t made anything with stone fruit yet this year!

  5. Have made this a few times now and it’s truly delicious. Have used golden queen peaches and whatever berries I have on hand. I’ve just used wholemeal spelt flour instead of the GF ones. Kids keep coming back for more!

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Yes it is one of those versatile cakes that can be topped with many fruits. Plums, peaches, pears and feijoas even. And yes of-course spelt flour will work just as well as gluten-free flour. Enjoy 🙂

  6. Just whipped up this bad boy with some of my very ripe black boy peaches…hope I can wait until my friends come for morning tea tomorrow before I devour it, it smells divine!

    1. I hope it went down well, Jess. Our favourite cake around here at the moment 🙂

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