Executive Chef John McConnell
Clif Family Winery
St. Helena, Calif.
The combination of almonds and apricots in this cake make it welcome at the breakfast table. At Clif Family Winery in California, chef John McConnell bakes it up for a morning treat, but the cake can serve equally well as a dessert.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup cake flour
¼ cup almond meal
¾ cup whole blanched almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
¼ cup sour cream
4 to 5 fresh apricots, pitted and sliced
Almond butter frosting
1 cup almond butter
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 tbsp. whole milk
1¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
1½ cups almond slices, toasted
Sliced fresh apricots
- For cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter inside of 9- or 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom; sprinkle granulated sugar inside pan to coat, dumping the excess.
- In food processor, combine flour, almond meal, almonds, baking powder and salt; pulse until mixture is finely ground with no large visible pieces of almonds. Set aside.
- In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, ¾ cup sugar and vanilla seeds. Beat on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until mixture appears light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly combined before adding the next egg. Continue to beat mixture for an additional 4 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy again.
- Stop mixer and carefully add flour mixture; beat on low speed until incorporated. With rubber spatula, scrape down sides of bowl to ensure the mixture is homogenous. Add sour cream and continue to beat on low speed until blended.
- Arrange apricot slices inside the buttered and sugared pan. Pour cake batter over apricots; sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over top. Bake on sheet tray in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until lightly golden brown and cake tester comes out clean, rotating cake halfway through cooking time. Let cake cool on wire rack.
- For frosting, combine almond butter with butter in mixing bowl. In stand mixer fitted with paddle, whip until well mixed and soft. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar; reduce speed to low and mix until incorporated. To adjust consistency, thin with milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cover frosting with plastic wrap to prevent hardening.
- After cake is completely cool, use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer over top and on sides. Garnish the outside of the cake with toasted almond slices just around the edge of the cake. To serve, slice cake and garnish with slices of ripe, pitted apricots.
Photo courtesy of Almond Board of California