Makes one 9-inch, single-layer cake
Level of difficulty *
In this pretty cake, the apricots provide a tangy counterpoint to the sweetness of the chocolate. The cake is best served warm, with a generous spoonful of whipped cream on the side.
1 (30-ounce) can apricot halves, drained
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup whole pecans
1 cup (4.5 ounces) cake or pastry flour
1/4 cup (0.75 ounce) unsweetened,
nonalkalized cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
To Make the Topping
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan. Blot the apricots between several layers of paper towels to absorb any excess liquid.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and corn syrup, stir, and heat until melted into the butter. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared cake pan. Place a pecan in each apricot half and place the apricots, pecan side down, in the pan. Wedge more pecans between the apricots and set the pan aside.
To Make the Cake
1. Sift the flour with the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt twice, and set it aside.
2. with an electric mixer on low speed (or with a stationary mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter for 1 minute, or until light. Slowly add the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, and when all of it has been added, continue to beat for about 3 minutes, scraping down the beaters and sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture will look flufty.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 10 seconds between additions, and beat for another minute, or until smooth.
4. with a large rubber spatula, fold the sifted ingredients into the batter in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Spoon the batter over the fruit and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top feels springy and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake part comes out dry.
5. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the sides. Place a platter over the pan, invert the cake, and leave it for 5 minutes without moving it. The cake should drop out of the pan with the help of gravity. If not, tap it once and the cake will fall out. If any fruit or nuts stick to the pan, simply place them back on the cake.
This tastes best served the day it was made. Keep at room temperature, wrapped airtight, for 1 day; refrigerate leftovers after that.
150 Recipes from Simple to Sublime
By Michele Urvater
Broadway Books, October 2001
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created November 2001
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