I am not a natural baker. I have no patience for weighing, measuring and precision, but my love of cake and my rural isolation means that I have to make an effort. Living where I do, its not as if I can just nip out for a slice with the nearest decent cafe being a good 15 mile round trip. So, I struggle through and have a couple of staple recipes to keep my cake craving in check.
This cake is one I have been making almost weekly since we moved here. The fruit changes with what we can find at the weekly fruit and veg market - rhubarb and lemon was a huge hit and strawberry was divine, but this week's apricots were a great all round people pleaser and MUCH less work than next week's cherry!! And while the Aga and I remain at war, but the density of this almond meal cake makes it pretty much aga proof. Plus, its got fruit and is high in protein, which basically makes it a health food, right?
The recipe is a pretty standard almond cake recipe - heavy on the eggs and almond meal. It started out as a version of the Nigella Apple and Almond cake, but 6 eggs was just too many for me so I messed about with ingredients and recipes until I found something a bit lighter. The technique that My Darling Lemon Thyme uses for beating her eggs and sugar really helps with the lightness and adding a second flour helps it all hold together much better than the straight almond cakes I have made in the past.
4 large eggs
125g soft butter
300g almond meal (I use almond flour or just almonds ground as fine as possible in the food processor. I buy almonds in bulk from Costco, so they are always handy. Alternatively, Lidl and Aldi sell almond meal at half the price of other supermarkets)
40g other flour (I use coconut flour, as I have a bag I need to use. Rice flour, or even a white flour would be fine here - you just need something to help hold it all together).
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a 9" springform pan with baking parchment. Butter. Cut apricots in half and place face down on bottom.
With a mixer (stand or hand held), beat the heck out of the eggs and sugar until they form a froth. It takes about 5-8 minutes, but really adds to the lightness of this cake. Add the butter and mix. Fold in the flours and baking powder. Place into the pan, smoothing it out.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.