Apricot Lavender cake
I finally got around to take my Kelowna foodie “crew” for an evening sail on the beautiful Okanagan lake. On the short list were Val of More than Burnt Toast, Laura of The Culinary Travel Guide and Barbara (not Barb) of the good life anytime (really, not a blog). We piled onto Captain G’s beloved Isa Lei and headed south in search of a calm cove to drop anchor and go in for an evening swim. We soon found the place, not too shallow, not far from shore and Captain dropped anchor. My friend Barbara was not deterred in the least by the cold dark water and jumped right in making a big splash. Well, I had to follow and gingerly lowered myself into the cold water via the wooden ladder on the side of the boat, yelping the entire time. It was cold to get in but rewarding (or was it?) once we were in. Refreshing for sure. We soon talked Laura into following us in and Val stayed behind to (wo)man the boat. We splashed around for a while before returning to the boat for the real business of food. Since this was a foodie crew food had to be part of the experience. I brought a pasta-vegetable salad with parsley pesto, a baguette with unsalted butter, some white wine and a dessert that is the subject of this post: apricot-lavender cake with apricot sauce.
Cooking is always an adventure. When I started to make this cake I had an olive oil cake in mind. Half way through the mis en place I thought I’d use half butter and half olive oil, so I made that change. Then I thought I’d use some of the lavender I harvested the other day and a tablespoon of dried lavender went into the batter. Once I poured the batter into the cake pan I saw these apricots looking at me with questioning eyes. “When is our turn?” (don’t worry, I don’t really hear voices:). I don’t know if apricots and lavender are really compatible but I can try. I cut a few apricots into thin wedges and arranged them in a pretty concentric design on top of the batter and placed the cake in the oven. Checking the cake after a few minutes revealed that the apricots decided to plunge right into the cake batter and were no where to be seen on top. Okay, not the end of the world. The cake still baked beautifully and was high and moist when it was done. A cut through the cake showed that the apricot wedges sunk to the bottom of the cake. Fine. To make it more “apricoti” I used the remaining apricots to make an apricot sauce, made by simply cooking the apricot, lemon juice and some sugar until it reached saucy consistency. Turned out beautiful (my husband: “oh, that lavender in the cake, wow”) and I thought you’d like to have the recipe. The apricot sauce by itself is versatile, serve it over pancakes, on toast etc., you know what to do.
if you want to have the apricots suspended in the cake I suggest to cut them into smaller pieces and toss them with a little flour. If they end up sinking in, so be it. Still a great cake.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola or olive)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon dried lavender buds or 2 tablespoons fresh lavender
2 apricots, cut into pieces,1 tablespoon flour
Spray a round 9″ cake pan with non stick oil and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix.
Combine eggs, sugar and oil in another bowl and mix by hand or with a hand mixer and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Start adding the flour to the egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Do not over mix. Scrape the side of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all the flour is blended.
Add the lavender and mix it in gently.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Toss the chopped apricot pieces with the 1 tablespoon flour, shake off excess flour and scatter them on top of the cake.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over the batter.
Place on a baking sheet lined with silicon sheet.
Bake at 350F about 45-50 minutes. It should be springy to the touch and golden when ready.
Cool in the pan and then invert to release.
1 lb apricots
Juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups sugar
Cut the apricots in half and remove the stone.
Place apricots, lemon juice and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and cook, skimming off the foam, until the mixture reaches a saucy consistency, about 20-30 minutes. the sauce will thicken as it cools.
Keep in jar in the fridge until needed.
To serve, spoon some of the sauce over each cake serving and serve on its own or with whipped cream.