Apricot Upside-Down Cake

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I just returned from a weekend in my hometown, Los Altos, California. Everything got a lot smaller, except my old friends, who all got better looking.

You’d never know it today, but in the olden days before it was Silicon Valley, Los Altos was apricot country. I remember driving through orchards with screen after screen of ears (thats what we called dried apricots). The orchards stretched for miles. We had a couple trees in our yard, too, and we always made apricot jam, which I would promptly get sick of. In fact, I remember watching my friends longingly as they ate their peanut butter sandwiches with grape jam. It seemed so extravagant to me!

Apricot season is approaching, and I have been sampling the early crop at our farmers market. I cannot get enough of these sweet, juicy fruits, which means there is an apricot tummy ache in my future.

The apricot is easily adapted to many culinary delights, but today I am offering one of all-time favorite cakes. Upside-down cake is a most frequently pineapple. I love that classic dessert, and whenever I get my hands on a really sweet and juicy pineapple, upside-down it goes. But that is by no means the only fruit option, and as luck would have it, apricots are the perfect match for this delicate, buttery cake. When their season comes to a close, substitute whichever fruit comes next in your area. Peaches, plums, cherries, pears, apples, or perhaps … pineapple!

INGREDIENTS

1 TB. melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
10-12 fresh apricots, sliced in wedges
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup amaretto

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat a 10″ round cake pan with pan spray, line with a circle of parchment paper, and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly across bottom of pan, then top with almonds and neatly arranged apricot wedges. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and lump-free. Add egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and add alternately with milk. Stir in amaretto, then pour batter over apricots. Bake 25-30 minutes until firm to the touch. A pick inserted should come out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then invert and cool. Serve wedges with a dollop of whipped cream.

apricot cake(1)

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