Yesterday, the boyfriend and I were invited over to his friend’s parents’ house for lunch (let’s call then the G’s). Mr. and Mrs. G are fabulous conversationalists- engaging, cultured, and hillarious. I suggested bringing a dessert, and began to wonder what to bring. I thought something moderately sweet would be a safe bet, and decided on an apricot coffee cake. Apricots are my favourite fruit- they’re juicy, slightly acidic, sweet, and so, so delicious. Unfortunately, their season is ridiculously short- sometimes only June!- and thus the second they begin to hit the shelves, I start eating about 3 a day. My mother taught me carefully the way to pick out the best ones- soft but not mushy, a vibrant hue of orange and reds and pinks, and with a sweet smell that promises a juicy munch.
I searched for a recipe that fit the basic idea I had in my head and found one that seemed adequate. Unfortunately, I had to restart, switched computers, lost the link, and was unable to find it again. But, luckily, I happened upon this brilliant recipe by Bill Granger of Australia, and began making some edits (because I’m incapable of following a recipe as-is).
The result, post-edits, was something I would not have thought possible, considering the fact that so much air is in this cake with the egg whites: a Danish! I made a Danish cake, by accident! Apparently, adding a large amount of sour cream- even if light- and reducing moisture will result in a thick, moist Danish. Mmmmh. I plan to experiment with this one again very, very soon, in muffin tins, to make individual cakes.
Upside-Down Apricot Danish Cake
Adapted from Bill Granger’s Apricot Upside-Down Cake
1/2 cup lightly-packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla) – optional
- 4 tblspn soy butter
- 1 can apricot halves in juice (NOT syrup – no need for that extra sugar!) OR 6-8 fresh apricot halves
- 6 tblspn soy butter
- 8 oz light sour cream (for a more Danish consistency, bring this up to 10-12 oz)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2-4 apricots, pureed
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- 4 separated eggs
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
- Heat oven to 355 degrees F and butter a bundt cake pan or 9-inch round springform pan
- Heat together soy butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract (and perhaps a tiny sprinkle of salt) over medium heat until it begins to bubble slightly; then add in apricot halves and reduce heat slightly. Keep flipping over the apricots so that they’re fully coated with the mixture, until they are soft and cooked through but not falling apart, and the sauce has caramelized. Then, pour apricots slowly and evenly into pan and set aside.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.
- Put remaining soy butter, sugar, 1/2 of the sour cream, and almond or vanilla extract in a bowl and mix slowly until the mixture has a creamy texture. Whisk in the egg yolks in two batches (2 at a time), then add in the pureed apricots (just halve them, chop into small pieces, and place in blender or food processor) and mix slowly.
- Add the sifted flour in two batches, stirring slowly and only until just mixed in. If there are a few small tufts of unmixed flour, don’t worry about them! Then add in the remaining half of the sour cream, again mixing slowly.
- Take a chilled bowl (preerably metal) and place egg whites and 1/2 tsp salt inside. Beat with an electric mixer on 1 or lowest speed for 3-60 seconds, then slowly raise speed until stiff, white peaks are formed. Be careful not to overbeat, or the whites will begin falling back down.
- Fold the egg whites in 3-4 batches, being careful to fold and not mix so as to get all the air into the cake. Pour mixture slowly and evenly over the apricots in your cake pan.
- Place in oven on middle rack for approximately 50 minutes, then remove and check with a toothpick. Let side 5 minutes to cool, then flip over onto a plate and allow to continue cooling for 30 minutes. Eat warm with vanilla ice cream or cool as a Danish (as it cools, the cake will compress and compact into a thicker, creamier Danish)
It’s delicious, and not too sweet, as the acidity of the apricots really cuts through. The almond extract was strong, so I’d suggest either substituting it for vanilla, bringing down the quantity (that which I listed above is a bit toned down from my original, which I thought to be a bit too overtly almond-y) or simply leaving it out. That said, it’s a great cake, and easily transportable. The G’s enjoyed it, as did the boyfriend and sister, and it went nicely with the absolutely scrumptious meal Mrs. G made for us. :)