You may have noticed I’ve been rustling up a lot of strawberry recipes of late (strawberry coconut squares, classic Eton Mess), and the reason for that is my mum has gone strawberry crazy. But hey, I’m not complaining. The UK has had an amazing glut of summer fruits this year (I think it’s compensation for that shoddy and drawn-out winter), and so the berries keep coming, bigger, juicier and sweeter than ever. And I can’t wait for all the plums, apples and blackberries we’ve got coming our way as autumn descends. Our plum trees are dripping with nearly ripe fruits right now, just taunting us.This recipe is a twist on my nectarine, raspberry and almond cake, which always goes down a treat. You can substitute whatever fruits you like really, but I think stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries etc) go particularly well with the subtle almond flavour, and I then like to balance that out with some sweet, tangy berries.
I personally like relatively big chunks of fruit in my cake, but if you leave the slices too big they’ll just sink to the bottom, which isn’t ideal. It’s a fine line and a difficult balance. The troubles of my life, eh? The ground almonds ensure the cake is nice and moist, and I like to leave my cake just ever so slightly squidgy in the middle. This cake is very easy to make – you don’t even need an electric whisk or anything! Well, you obviously need some things, but not much. I whipped it up in a flash, filled a tin and we took it round to my auntie’s for a summery afternoon tea. Shame it was chucking it down outside but what can ya do? Cake is cake.
250g unsalted butter
300g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 apricots, stoned and cut into little slices
100g (ish) strawberries, sliced
handful flaked almonds
1 tbsp icing sugar, to finish
1. Butter and line a 20x30cm traybake tin and heat oven to 180C. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan then leave to cool for a few minutes.
2. While the butter is cooling, measure out the sugar, vanilla and eggs into a large bowl. Add the melted butter then beat it all together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the flour, almonds and ¼ tsp salt.
3. Tip the mix into the tin, then lay the fruit slices evenly on top – don’t worry about pushing them down. Scatter the almonds over, then bake for 55-65 mins, covering with foil after 30 mins to stop the top getting too brown.
4. To check whether the cake is done, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake – it should be just a little squidgy, but that will firm up once the cake cools. Cool in the tin for at least 30 mins, then lift out onto a cooling rack. Once cold, dust with icing sugar, then cut into squares. Yum!
Types of apricot bars
- Apricot oatmeal bars
- Apricot oat bars
- Apricot almond bars
- Apricot crumble bars
- Apricot cookies bars