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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Apricot & Honey Slice Cake

Well, this is a pleasant little tea cake from the Afternoon Tea chapter in Bill Granger's "Bill's Open Food". It a nice little thing to serve with cups of tea, or take to work for a team coffee break. It won't knock your socks off, but it is sweet, tangy and soft; who could say no?
I nearly made this for the hen's party afternoon tea a few weeks ago, but abandoned the idea at last minute in favour of the chocolate cloud cake, which I'm sure you'll agree was a good decision. I think this cake would have looked far too healthy and virtuous, and if my yummy plum cake or lime, coconut & macadamia cake were any indication, it would have remained intact amongst the chocolate debris at the end of the afternoon. So instead, with it being on my list of recipes to bake (yes, I have a baking list. It's rapidly growing), I decided to whip it up for the fourth offering in my baking-for-the-mystery-workplace project.

I had a real "senior moment" doing this, in that I completely forgot to grease the parchment paper I used to line the tin. So, I was full of unladylike swearing when trying to peel the paper off later, without also peeling off the entire crust. Grrrr. Here's a tip, children; don't, don't, don't forget to grease your pan!!
The batter is quite wet, which creates a soft, dense but light cake base - which will take quite a while to bake through; perhaps longer than the specified time. The apricots on top perfectly complement the mild sweetness with their sharp tang - even when you use tinned fruit, as I did. If you have it, use really good vanilla extract in this as the vanilla flavour shines through amazingly. The reason I had this on my list is because a friend tasted this recipe at a party and recommended it to me solely because of the wonderful vanilla aroma.

I took the independent decision to sprinkle the top with cinnamon and drizzle the apricots with my yummy unrefined honey, for a bit of added interest. Which was very nice. I recommend it. Unfortunately my version didn't turn out nearly as perfect as the photo in Bill's book. My batter bubbled up and swallowed up some of my apricots. His was photogenically perfect. I call mine 'rustic'.
So, add this to your list (what? You don't yet have a 'baking recipes to try' index? Shame on you! ;-) )if you want something quick, tasty and appropriate for morning teas, afternoon teas, picnics.....

Read on for the recipe:
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Apricot & Honey Slice
Adapted from "Bill's Open Kitchen", Bill Granger

185g (1 1/2 cups) plain (ap) flour
170g (34 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 eggs
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
180g (6 1/2 oz) butter, softened
14 apricots, pitted and halved; fresh or canned (this may vary depending on the size of the apricots)
~1/4 cup honey, warmed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons caster sugar, extra

Preheat the oven to 160C (315F/Gas 2-3). Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Place the eggs, milk and vanilla in another bowl and mix to combine. Pour the egg mixture and butter into the well in the dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes until smooth. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased or non-stick 20x30cm (8x12 inch) lamington tin.

Push the apricot halves, cut side up into the cake mixture in four rows of seven. Sprinke with the cinnamon and drizzle with the wamed honey, making sure to fill each well from the missing pit. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle over the extra sugar and cook for another 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cut into fingers with two apricot halves per slice. Makes 14 slices.


  • Nicki - that looks sooo good! Not at all healthy! ;) But I know what you mean about everyone going for the chocolate. It's some sort of reflex in humans I'm afraid - we see that deep fudgy brown and we start salivating.

    Glad I'm not the only one having a senior moment in the kitchen - I forgot to put the sugar in a cake the other day! Hmmm, I was wondering why it didn't rise like it was supposed to...

    By Blogger Cathy, at 10/06/2005 09:14:00 pm  

  • I'm trying not to think about how long my "to bake" list is getting. I think that the rusticness looks quite nice for this cake, particularly since I've been feeling in the mood for non-chocolatey things lately.

    By Blogger Nic, at 10/06/2005 11:49:00 pm  

  • This cake looks so delicious! Personnaly I would chose it over chocolate. I will certainly give it a try.

    By Blogger Ana, at 10/07/2005 07:15:00 am  

  • Looks great Niki! I often call my food "rustic", usually dinners that have got more black bits than they should!

    By Blogger Kelly, at 10/07/2005 04:07:00 pm  

  • Cathy - sometimes these things are sent to try us, and remind us that no matter how much baking we do, we can be total dropkicks sometimes!

    Nic - My list is so long that I've started forgetting to add to it. there's so many things floating round in my head, as well as my list!
    PS - I did a fantatic pumpkin and apple crumble last year around November, that would be perfect for Thanksgiving/holiday/your pumpkin-love (pph sounds dirty!).

    Ana - I think lots of people would prefer it to chocolate. Choc cakes can be a bit much sometimes.

    Kelly - is that followed by a 'daahling'? I love putting on the posh drawl and going 'it's rustic, daaahling'!

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/07/2005 05:22:00 pm  

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