Apricots, I've tried them dried but not the fresh ones. I suppose now is the season, and these fresh apricots are easily available at the market fruit stalls or supermarket, and selling at $5 a punnet. Usually, the uncles or aunties at the market fruit stalls readily dishes out tips and information on the fruit they are selling, which we will not know if we just buy from the supermarket. Do we call it value-added service? These uncles and aunties do not need to have high education level to know what attracts customers, marketing, promotion, customer service. Call me silly but I always feel for these stall-holders sweating their hearts out to make a decent living, of course, there are a few of them who are actually very well-off and stay at big landed property. I know a few living examples! Sorry that I've digressed too much, I want to share with you about what I learnt about the special 'gem' of apricot - it's inside the seed! Keep the seed and pound them open, but not too hard as you might squash whatever gem that is inside, you will find an ALMOND! I've ate a few and kept the balance, thinking of adding these little gems in my next bake. Very nice and fresh!!
I like the texture and taste of the cake, and importantly, it's very easy to bake. Also have to keep in mind about not reducing the sugar (too much), as just learnt from HHB that the sugar not only acts as a sweetener in a cake, but also helps to attract moisture in the batter, which ultimately affects the texture of the cake. So much science for baking, which I've all along ignored! Being lazy here, I've copied HHB's recipe and pasted it below for my future reference. I tried both 180g and 170g sugar, and I think both turned out similar in texture. Both cakes are baked at 180 deg C and for 60 mins. Did I say both - yes - baked 1 on Fri nite and another on Sun nite ;-)
100g butter, soften at room temperature
200g caster sugar (I cut down to180g)
50g sour cream (I replaced with same amount of low fat yogurt)
3 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
210g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
500g fruits* tossed with 2 tablespoon sugar*
(You can use strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas, oranges, pears, apples, pineapple, or any other fruits that are not too juicy. I omitted the sugar and used as much fruits, either fresh or canned, as needed to fill the top of the cake)
- Wash, cut (chunks or slices, as desired) and drain fruits, toss with sugar (if desired) and set aside. (if using canned fruits, wash the fruits to remove the syrup, omit the sugar).
- Grease (with butter) and flour the side of a 9" round pan or a 8" square pan and line the base with parchment paper.
- With an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and sour cream (or yogurt) till light and fluffy.
- Dribble in the eggs gradually and beat till incorporated in the batter. (The mixture may appear slightly curdled.)
- Add vanilla extract and zest. Mix to combine.
- Sieve over flour and baking powder and mix till smooth. (To avoid getting flour all over my work surface, I mixed the flour into the batter using a spatula, just a few strokes will do, then I used the electric mixer to mix the batter till smooth.)
- Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Arrange fruits on top, don’t press the fruits down into the batter. Decorate the fruits as desired.
- Bake in pre-heat oven at 180degC for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake. Cover the top with foil in the last 15 mins of baking to prevent the top from getting over browned.
- Leave the cake to cool in the pan for about 5~10 mins. Unmold and transfer to wire rack to let cool completely. Dust the cake with some icing sugar if desired.