Apricot and Sour Cream Afternoon Coffee Cake

apricot sourcream cake2

I’m really feeling into gorgeous fruity cakes now, so I’m attempting, (with little success) to get them out of my system. This pretty little cake was inspired by an apricot jam, sour cream and toasted almond cupcake recipe that I am dying to make. Sadly, I haven’t had all the ingredients, in the house, at the same time yet and with our impending move, I’m trying not to buy anything that I don’t actually need to survive. (I can make a convincing argument for cupcakes being integral to my survival but that’s for another time). Since I had fresh apricots that were begging to be baked into something delightful, I decided to go with a cake instead. The basic cake recipe/ratios that I started with came from one of my favorite blogs, but I have changed it around a bit, made it bigger and a bit sweeter as well, since the apricots in Israel are quite sour, even when ripe. The top has an almost custardy texture, which is delicious and lends a wonderful creaminess to the apricots. I considered using brown or demerera sugar instead of the white, but went for the classic, simpler flavor of the white in the end. I used vanilla to round out the sourness of the apricots, but I think it would also be fantastic with some almond extract or amaretto, so feel free to experiment!

Ingredients: (serves 10)

For the cake:

– 5-7 very ripe apricots, washed and cut into slices
– 2 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 150 grams  butter (basically 1 and 1/3 stick of butter)
– 1/2 cup milk (approximately)
– 2 tablespoons cream (15%, not heavy whipping)
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 egg
– 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the top:

– 1 tablespoon sour cream
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 egg

Right before serving:

– powdered sugar
– vanilla ice cream

apricot sourcream cake1

Method: Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F) and grease or line a 12 inch spring-form pan with baking paper. I always use baking paper and clean up is nonexistent.

1) In a big bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and butter with your hands, pinching it all together until it is almost all incorporated. Alternately you can use a food processor.

2) Add in the sugar, and mix again. Add in the egg, vanilla, cream, and milk, then mix again until just combined, being careful not to over mix.  The batter should be thick, bot pourable, so if it is too stiff, add more milk as needed.

3) Pour the batter into the pan and spread it around evenly with a spatula. Arrange the apricots on top, in a spiral pattern.

4) In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, sugar and egg for the topping, beating them with a fork, and pour it evenly over the top of the cake.

5) Bake for about 35 minutes, (I cooked it for 40 minutes, as you can see in the top photo that was too long, so I reduced the cooking time to 35 minutes) or until golden and the apricots are tender. Turn off the oven and let it sit for another 15 minutes or so.  I did this with the oven door open slightly open so that it wouldn’t dry out. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving, and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a truly awesome experience.

apricot sourcream cake3

Chocolate, Pear and Toasted Almond Spice Cake

chocolate almond pear cake2The last time we had slightly over-ripe pears, G unknowingly just chucked them because he didn’t want to eat them. (I know, I know. He’s learning). Afterwords I was very careful to explain all the wonderful things that can be done with ripe pears and so this time around, when they started to get a little sorry looking, he left them alone thank goodness. I hadn’t felt like blogging for a while, and I still really didn’t until I started a new diet to drop a few pounds for swimsuit season. Well you know what inevitably came next. Every time my mind wandered off at the computer I somehow ended up at gorgeous foodie sites, until after 3 days of mind numbingly boring pure protein meals, I just had to bake something, FAST. Unfortunately, there were no eggs in the house. (Already down one dress size!!) Side note: I have been chowing down on egg-whites left and right when I start to feel weak (like I’m gonna grab a super sized bag of sour skittles from the drawer and just murder them… mnnn sour skittles… ) so I had to figure something else out. Well, as you may or may not be aware, there aren’t many egg-less pear cake recipes out there, but I knew that there was a vegan chocolate cake recipe that I had been wanting to try for a while so I figured, what the hell. I added a bit of spice to it because I love chocolate with cinnamon, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. There were a few yummy looking chocolate pear cake recipes out there so I knew that I wouldn’t be too far off base with these flavor profiles. Most of them had walnuts, but I tend to be more of an almond lover (my Mom says all men are nuts and G is an almond, so it makes sense). Seriously, no double entendre intended but that sounded hilarious! So here it is, it came out a bit flatter than I’d hoped for, but it is perfect for a simple “on hand” cake or an impressive 2 layer cake, (double the recipe and bake in 2 matching pans). I hope you like it:

Ingredients:

Cake Ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
50 grams sliced almonds, lightly toasted (reserve 25g of these for topping)
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3 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
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Chocolate Glaze (this can be made vegan, visit the link above,  she explains how)

1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

chocolate almond pear cake

Method: (Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit)

1) combine diced pears with 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
2) combine all other dry ingredients into one bowl(don’t forget to leave out 25g of the toasted almonds for later).
3) combine all wet ingredients except vinegar into another bowl.
4) combine wet ingredients bowl with dry ingredients bowl, mix well. Then add pear mixture, and mix well again.
5) Add vinegar, mix into rest of batter. Why do you do this  last? Vinegar is an acid, (like citric or lactic acid, ie. lemon juice or creme fraiche) which reacts with the baking soda to make it rise, but baking soda is only active for a short time after the vinegar activates it so it has to go in as close to the baking time as possible.
6) In a 12 inch spring-form pan lined with baking paper, (or it will leak or stick) pour in batter.
7) Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
8) Cool for 2 hours. Then make the glaze. (I went for a walk with Bella since I have a hard time waiting for these things).
9) In a small saucepan, bring sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa to a boil.
10) Stir frequently until it boils, then reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. There will be bubbles.
11) Remove from heat and stir for another 5 minutes.
12) Add vanilla, stir, and pour onto cake right away. Glaze dries quickly, so spread it immediately and add remaining toasted almonds over the top and let it set, 1 hour. I did this backwards, and yes, I am ashamed. I baked the almonds on top, and only after decided to make the glaze. Do it the other way and you will have a very nice looking cake for coffee, guests, or just to surprise a tired and studied-out husband who thinks you have been sitting on the couch all day watching The Simpsons and eating skittles.