One thing leads to another. It started with a simple email and then resulted with the inspiration to bake this cake. My friend Terry sent me an email asking if I wanted to go play. Well, of course I did. It is very rarely I turn down an opportunity to go play. The plan was to go check out a new HomeGoods store, visit some other stores, and have lunch. Shopping? Oh yes! Lunch meant sushi, double oh yes!
Confession: I have a weakness for kitchen gadgets. I cannot seem to get enough. The Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table catalogs are like the old Sears Christmas catalogs except they come all throughout the year. I get excited every time one arrives. The wish list keeps growing. While I would love to go out today and buy everything in the store, that is not reality. I do whatever I can to find the items I desire at a good bargain price.
I found the dried apricots when I was shopping. The Apricot Nut Cake is the first thing I thought of when I saw them. I had not made this cake in a long while. It reminds me of a European cake or torte because it is not too sweet. As much as I dearly love and adore frosting, there are some times I want a simple treat without it. I adapted the recipe from one I found on the Food Network website. It is by Giada De Laurentiis and you can find the original recipe here. How about a slice right now?
What has inspired you to cook or bake something lately? Was it a meal you had out somewhere? Or an item you have spotted in a store? It is so interesting how inspiration can either come from or lead to food. The fun thing is to follow through and see where the adventure takes you.
PS. I am testing a new recipe format below. I still have some tinkering to do with it. Let me know your opinion so I can tweak it and make it easy for you to print or save the recipes found here on Magnolia Days.
- ½ cup whole almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup pine nuts, raw
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting cake pan
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ⅓ cup milk, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and place it in the pan. Grease the paper. Dust/sprinkle the pan with flour and tap to coat pan evenly then upside down over the sink to remove excess. Set pan aside.
- Add the whole almonds and ¼ cup toasted pine nuts to a food processor fitted with a knife blade. Process until the nuts are finely ground but do not over process or you will get a nut butter. Transfer the ground nuts to a medium bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. Add the melted butter and milk and beat to combine. Stir in the almond extract and apricots by hand. Add the flour/nut mixture and gently stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds and raw pine nuts. Bake at 350°F for 50 to 55 minutes until done. Cake is done when a toothpick or cake tester is inserted and comes out clean. Completely cool cake in the pan on a wire rack. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the edge of the pan. Remove the cake from the pan by turning it upside down on the wire rack. Remove parchment paper if it is on the bottom of the cake. Invert the cake on to a cake plate or platter. Slice, serve, and enjoy.