Apricot, Walnut & Lavender Cake

With apricots in season, I knew it was finally time to make this cake that I'd been eyeing since early this year. Around February, I took out all my Yotam Ottolenghi books to look through them to get inspired and this cake kept grabbing my attention. I tend to gravitate towards food that looks colorful & beautiful and involves tons of produce, even if it's dessert. The photograph of this cake in the cookbook had all that, so I knew I had to make it once apricots were here in California.

I used Blenheim variety of apricots that have a good balance of acidity and floral sweetness. Apricots tend to become really sour when cooked or baked but I knew this variety would be a good choice for the cake. The icing on the top after the cake comes out helps counter the acidity of the baked apricots as well so don't skip it. The lavender in this cake is just the right amount providing that floral fragrance without it being too overpowering. But I am probably not the best judge of it since I love everything lavender, even in obnoxious amounts lol! One of the most favorite ice creams I've made has been a honey & lavender one from a David Lebovitz's recipe. If you're a fan of lavender, give this cake a try!

Recipe adapted from Plenty More, Yotam Ottolenghi
Makes 8-12 servings

185g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
220g superfine sugar
120g ground almonds
4 large eggs, beaten
120g walnuts, ground to a semi fine powder in a food processor
90g all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
1½ teaspoon lavender flowers, fresh or dry
600g (about 15) apricots, halved and pitted
For the icing:
50g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Beat butter, olive oil, sugar and almond flour till mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs slowly and beat till well mixed. Add ground walnuts, flour, vanilla extract and 1 tsp lavender and fold it in using a spatula. Line an 8.5" pan with parchment both on the bottom and on the sides. Pour the cake batter in and smooth top. Starting from the outside, gently press apricot halves in overlapping slightly forming a concentric circle. Bake for 80 minutes till a nice brown on the surface. While the cake is baking, make the icing y whisking the icing sugar and lemon juice. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven brush this icing over the cake gently and sprinkle the 1/2 tsp lavender. Let cool completely before taking the cake out of the pan and taking the parchment off. Serve cut into 8 large sized servings or 12 normal sized servings.


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