Apricot and Frangipane Cake
The apricot and frangipane cake from Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi’s Tuscany: Simple Meals & Fabulous Feasts from Italy is so moist and tender, thanks to tons of juicy apricots, that it doesn’t even need frosting. Plus, the almond meal-based batter is naturally gluten-free.
½ cup superfine sugar
5 fresh or canned apricots (11½ ounces), pitted and halved
3½ ounces softened unsalted butter
2 cups almond meal
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Whipped cream, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 340ºF and line an 8-inch shallow tart pan with parchment paper.
2. Scatter 2 tablespoons of the sugar on a plate. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Dip the cut side of each apricot into the sugar, then place them sugar side down in the pan. Tip in the remaining sugar from the plate.
2. Caramelize the apricots for a few minutes, without stirring, until they become medium brown in color on the cut side. Add 3 tablespoons of cold water to the pan and shake to combine the water with the sugar. Transfer the contents of the skillet gently into the tart pan, allowing the apricots to slide in sugar side down.
3. Cream the butter and remaining sugar together in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the almond meal, eggs, baking powder, vanilla and lemon zest and beat until blended. Spoon the batter onto the apricots and smooth the top with a spatula.
4. Bake in the oven until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven with oven gloves and put a plate over the top of the pan. Flip the cake over and peel off the baking parchment. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.