Almond, apricot and amaretto cake

Diana Henry / 22 March 2016

A rich and luxurious cake with chopped apricots, almonds, marzipan and Amaretto that makes a perfect alternative to Simnel cake at Easter.

Cooking time

90 minutes

Serves

8



Ingredients

For the cake

  • 115g (4oz) butter
  • 325g (12oz) golden caster sugar
  • 55g (2oz) marzipan, broken into little chunks
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 25ml (1fl oz) Amaretto liqueur
  • 25ml (1fl oz) apricot brandy (or regular brandy)
  • 165g (60z) plain flour, sifted
  • 25g (1oz) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 75g (3oz) almonds (grind them freshly yourself, if possible)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 125ml (4fl oz) sour cream
  • 125g (4 1/2oz) moist dried apricots, chopped

For the topping

  • 225g (8oz) Greek yogurt
  • 3 generous tbs very thick cream
  • 125g (4/12oz) good soft-set apricot jam (I use Bonne Maman)
  • Generous handful toasted almond flakes
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Method

This is richly almondy – it’s the marzipan in the mixture – and has a lovely moist crumb. It’s very adaptable. If you don’t want to serve it like a pudding – with the yogurt and cream topping – you can glaze the top with a regular glace icing. 

You can also, if you’re not keen on yogurt, make the creamy topping with a mixture of mascarpone and crème fraiche. Beat them well together to break them down then fold in the jam.

Butter and flour a spring form cake tin measuring 9 inches in diameter (23cm).

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add the marzipan and mix until blended (it doesn’t matter if there are little bits which haven’t broken down – it will be good in the texture of the final cake). Add the eggs slowly, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts and the alcohol.

Sift the flours, salt and baking soda together and mix with the almonds. Now fold the dry ingredients into the batter, alternating with the sour cream. Don’t let the mixture get too dry as you may then overwork the flour trying to incorporate it. 

Fold in the chopped apricots and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake in an oven preheated to 170C/150C fan/325F/gas 3 for 90 minutes then check it. 

A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Be careful not to overcook or the cake will be chewy. If it isn’t ready pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes and then check again.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then run a fine knife between the edge of the cake and the sides of the tin and turn out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

To make the topping, mix the yogurt and cream together, then stir in the jam, leaving the mixture slightly loose so that you can see the jam marbling the cream. Spoon this on top of the cake and scatter with the toasted almonds. Add a very fine dusting of icing sugar.

Visit our baking recipes section for more delicious cakes and biscuits.

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