Apricots are the first stone fruit of the season. Their tartness balances well with caramelized brown sugar and butter, enhanced with the sweet bite of Heritage Distillery’s Brown Sugar Bourbon (or similar). This delicate cake has the crunch of roasted almonds, the earthiness of buckwheat flour and the joy of juicy apricots.
Makes one 9-inch cake
¾ cup whole almonds
16 Tbsp unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature, divided
1¾ cup light brown sugar, divided
4 tsp Heritage Distillery Brown Sugar Bourbon, divided (or other bourbon)
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
7 fresh apricots, halved and pits removed
1 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp almond extract
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Trace the outline of a 9-inch round cake pan on a sheet of parchment and cut a ring one half-inch larger than your marking. Cut 2-inch strips of parchment to line the sides. Lightly brush oil on the base and sides of the cake pan. Place the parchment strips onto the oiled sides, then insert the parchment circle and press the overlapping paper flush against the edge. Set aside.
Place the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then pulse in a food processor to a medium-fine texture.
In a small saucepan, slowly melt 4 Tbsp butter. Add ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tsp Brown Sugar Bourbon and vanilla. Whisk it all together, then pour it into the lined cake pan. Use a spatula to spread the sugar mixture evenly over the base of the pan. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the sugar mixture, then place the apricot halves, cut side down, around the edge of the pan. For the center circle, cut the apricots into quarters and place in a spiral to create a flower-like design.
In a medium bowl, sift the all-purpose and buckwheat flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the remaining 12 Tbsp butter, ¾ cup of brown sugar and the granulated sugar. Using a paddle attachment, cream the mixture on medium speed for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is light and pale in texture.
Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next. Then add the remaining bourbon and almond extract and mix for 30 seconds to evenly distribute. Scrape the bowl frequently with a spatula to ensure everything is mixed in.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Stirring by hand with a spatula, add a third of the flour mixture and a third of the buttermilk. Continue alternating until the flour has absorbed the buttermilk. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter over the apricots and level with a spatula. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool for 20 minutes. To serve, cover pan with the plate you want to present it on and invert. Carefully lift the cake pan and remove the parchment paper. It’s best to let it cool for another 20 minutes and serve the cake while it’s still slightly warm.
Enjoy with your favorite vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.