Some of you may remember me complaining about apricots being expensive. Well, the store must’ve heard me because shortly after, they went on sale for $1.99 a pound. I bought eight of these tiny babies and spent an afternoon looking for my cookbooks, deciding what fate they deserved. Eventually, I came across apricot upside-down cake from Donna Hay. If you don’t own her book, get it. The photography is amazing, and it’s all of your “sweet favorites redefined with modern ingredients, outlook, and style” (this back cover doesn’t lie).
A word of caution – this involves making hot sugar syrup, so please wear gloves or oven mitts! I burnt my finger once, and it’s worse than your average boiling water burn. Syrup boils at a higher temperature, so it is hotter than 212F (roughly 234F, depending on what you’re making). Then on top of that, syrup sticks. You can wipe off boiling water easily, but it takes an extra few seconds to wash off syrup.
My cake came out somewhat soggy, so I’m not sure if the apricots were extra juicy or what. Or I just didn’t let it sit long enough. Also, I had batter overflow since my pan was 9 inches instead of 9 1/2, so I filled the apricot pan up to the rim, then poured the remaining batter in an extra pan.
This is a great time to use your stand mixer because it requires at least 8 minutes of beating, but I made mine with my hand mixer, and it worked just the same. I got a nice work out.
Apricot Upside-Down Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 Tbsp butter, melted
12 apricots, halved and stones removed
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
5 Tbsp butter
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 9 1/2 inch round cake pan.
2. For topping, place sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat until dissolved. Increase the heat and boil until the syrup is golden brown (this will take some time, be patient but don’t leave the room because once it turns brown, it will burn quickly). Remove from heat and add butter. Pour into bottom of pan. Let set while making the cake.
3. Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla for 8-10 minutes or until thick and pale. Gently fold in flour mixture. Then fold in melted butter.
4. Place apricot halves cut-side down and close together in the topping in the pan. Spoon on the cake mixture and bake 65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to stand 5 minutes then invert cake onto a plate (hence the name). Serve warm with cream.
Source: Modern Classics Book 2 by Donna Hay, 2003 p. 86