Most of the time I am still resisting the out-of-season summer fruit here. I like the anticipation and excitement of having summer produce come back into season, and eating it all year round wouldn't be the same. Plus, I'm not keen on supporting an industry that flies my fruit up from South Africa, or Turkey, or somewhere else decidedly not near Britain - and if the prices are that low, most likely someone is struggling to make a living.
But. When Tesco had a punnet of Spanish apricots discounted due to an approaching 'best before' date, I did waver. I then discovered another reason why local, seasonal fruit is best: it tastes much, much better. These apricots tasted fine, but they were not the apricots of my summer dreams. After eating a few raw, I decided to put the rest towards this cake.
The apricots may have lacked something in their natural state, but they worked extremely well when baked. The cake isn't overly almond-y and the main benefit of the almond flour is that the cake is beautifully moist. I do love the texture that almond flour provides. I also find it gives a better texture and taste the day after baking, so this is a good cake for making in advance. It kept well for a week in the fridge.
I adapted my recipe from an existing one, but made quite a few changes. In addition to being vegan, this uses less sugar than many cakes and it skips over regular wheat flour to use a mix of almond and spelt. Apple sauce helps avoid the need for eggs and also allows for slightly less margarine.
If you are in the southern hemisphere, this could help you use some of the seasonal apricots at your disposal. If you're not, tinned apricots could be a substitute. Or, wait until summer. Some things are meant to happen only once a year.
A bright, apricot-studded cake that is moist from the almond flour and subtly sweet from apricots
Author: Bite-sized thoughts, adapted from an apricot and almond cake on All Recipes
50g (1/4 cup) non-dairy spread
100g (1/2 cup) white sugar
250ml (1 cup) sweetened apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp almond essence
100g (scarce 1 cup) almond meal (ground almonds / almond flour)
100g (scarce 1 cup) spelt flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
200 - 250g apricots, weighed with stones (6-8 pieces of fruit), cored and cut into slices
Preheat your oven to 160'C and line a baking tin with non-stick paper (I used a square tin but round would work well too).
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the non-dairy spread and sugar until starting to cream. Add the apple sauce and vanilla and almond essences and beat until light and creamy.
Stir the almond meal, spelt flour and baking powder into the sugar mixture and stir to incorporate. Fold in approximately half of the apricot pieces, and then transfer to your prepared cake tin.
Top with the remaining apricots and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes (I checked mine after 35 minutes and the edges were a little too brown - however this was for a square tin, so longer times may be needed for round cake tins). The top should be golden and a skewer should come out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan before turning out to continue cooling.
What fruit are you enjoying at the moment?