Monday, August 29, 2011

Apricot Cake with Cinnamon Nut Topping

When Joyce from Kitchen Flavours suggested baking this cake for our bake-along with Lena, from Frozen Wings, I started scratching my head, thinking "where can I find any stone fruits in our winter?" We have a nectarine tree but it is as bare as it is when we bought it a few week ago. I remember seeing US-imported cherries in the supermarket and was hopeful that I can find imported stone fruits but I couldn't find any...

The original recipe of this cake uses nectarine or any stone fruit such as plums, apricots and peaches, being cut into halves. It also suggests not to peel the fruits for a rustic version. All I can find in our local Woolies is a can of apricot halves... The nectarine and peaches are only available in slices in the cans.

When I first read the recipe, I didn't like the idea of have 2 cup plus of sugar in a 10 inch round cake. Joyce, Lena and I had an email chat about this. Joyce thinks that the "1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar" might be a printing error as the recipe mentions only 1 tbsp sugar in the procedure of making the toppings. I would think that the extra cup of topping sugar is added to absorb the juice of the stones fruit while baking to give the cake a gooey-sticky texture. I'm sure that the cake will taste good using either way of preparation depending on each individual's taste...but I still prefer the cake with a gooey and rustic texture. To compromise, I've reduced the amount of topping sugar to 1/3 cup and use raw sugar instead for a more-caramelize taste and look. 

I was happy that my sugar reduction does not dramatically change the taste of this cake. The plain apricot halves on their own taste really plain, bland and they are so not appetizing that my husband and I refused to eat the excess apricots after eating them being on this cake. LOL. Being sticky on its surfaces and edges, this cake is simply delightful with the lovely walnut-crunches, slightly-caramelised juicy apricot and its delicious buttery cake base.



Here's the recipe from the book, Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman.
(with my modification in blue)

Nectarine Cake with Cinnamon Topping

1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar (I replaced with raw sugar and reduced the 1 cup sugar to 1/3 cup)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped (I pre-roasted the nuts at 150°C fan forced for 5 min.)

For the cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 medium ripe nectarine, halved, pitted, and peeled
(I replaced this with can apricot, halves in fruit juice)

Make the topping:
Combine 1 tbsp sugar, cinnamon, and the nuts in a small bowl. Set aside.

Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (or 170°C fan forced). Grease the inside of a 10 inch round springform pan.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

3. Combine the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 min, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of bowl after each addition.

4.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Arrange the nectarines (apricot), cut side down, on top of the batter. Sprinkle with the topping. Bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-55 min. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 min. Release the sides of the pan and use a large spatula to slide the cake from the pan bottom to a wire rack. Cool completely, cut into wedges, and serve.

5. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Note: Instead of using 10 inch round springform pan, I've used 19 cm round tart pan and baked the cake with half the amount of the recipe with 16 apricot halves.

Happy Baking
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For Honey Bee Sweet's comments: This is the picture showing full view of this cake. Cheers.


  1. Sounds delicious Zoe love the topping in it!! gloria

  2. Looks delicious especially the topping with cinnamon and nuts.

  3. This looks yummy, wish I can get the full view of the cake though, hehe. I just got some you think it will work ? Btw, I'm glad you decided to not use that extra cup of sugar....else the cake might be over dosed with sweetness, lol! 

  4. Hi Zoe, We love this cake too! Delicious without being too heavy! I will "balik kampung" in a short while and back in a few days! Raya Holiday here for a week! :)

  5. hi zoe, i ended up just using 1/2 tbsp of sugar for my topping for a half recipe, that's also why you mentioned you have a gooey kind of topping but glad to know that it still works well for you and you like that! I think we never had a reply from chattman on the sugar confirmation. btw, there's an error of the name of bake for our next bake along..( next to the date)

  6. Zoe, this turned out beautifully! I'm impressed that you found any stone fruits at all if it is winter where you are. I currently have peaches, pluots, plums and nectarines in my house, but this is summertime for me.

    Was this the first time that you tried apricots? I'm guessing that they weren't very good ones if you didn't like eating them plain. A ripe apricot should be juicy and sweet and absolutely delicious! I wish I could send you some off of my mom's tree. There is nothing quite like a perfectly ripe apricot.

    Luckily, in the right recipe, even a not-so-perfect fruit can shine. It looks like you did a great job working with what you had available to you.

  7. Looks super delicious and that topping.

  8. Zoe, apricot and cinnamon are so divine together!! LOL

  9. This looks moist and delicious! Hopping over to see lena's and joyce's:)

  10. What a fun bake along assignment! It looks like it turned out nicely.

  11. mmm...I would love this with those apricots! what a great cake!

  12. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments.

    Honey Bee Sweets: The book suggests that any stone fruits including plum will work well for this recipe. It is definitely worthwhile to give it a try. I would say that with 1/3 cup sugar topping is sweet and to me, the extra sugar is essential to make this cake inviting to eat.

    Lena: Thanks for letting me the error. It has corrected.

    Mary (Barefeet in the Kitchen): You are so lucky now enjoying all the stone fruits you can get for Summer. I would think the fresh stone fruits will be nice for making this cake. On the other hand, I would prefer to pre-cook the fresh fruit first before baking them in a cake. I was afraid that excess juice from the fruits will make cake base too wet. Using can fruit for this cake does not seems to wet the cake base too much in this case.

  13. Thanks fir the photo and the extra info on the cake Zoe, appreciate it! Well the reason why I was concern about the sugar added was my parents/in laws are always "complaining" about how sweet bake stuff are and I don't want to be under that spot light, hehehe. Thanks again!

  14. Your pie turned out beautiful! I bet it was scrumptious! I made those sweet potato rolls before and loved them.

  15. Zoe, your recipes are always so interesting and creative! I love it!

  16. Zoe, your cake looks really thin & nice! Simply irresistible. Wish I can have a slice too.
    Btw, selamat hari raya & enjoy your day!
    Best wishes,

  17. hey i recognise's moist and flavorful at the bottom and crunchy and fruity on top! i have qualms abt the sugar level for some recipes as well...think we really gotta use our own discretion sometimes eh

  18. Loooks scrumptious! I simply cannot wait till Australian stone fruit season begins - bring. it. on!!! :D