Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Golden Apricot Cake

Of all the goodies I made to give away this year, these little cakes were the one everybody mentioned. I just typed out the recipe for an aunt who requested it, and added it to my personal cookbook, so it seemed an opportune time to add it here in the Christmas kitchen. Of course this need not be reserved for Christmas; I plan to make more for Valentine gifts.

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups dried apricots, quartered
1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup raisins (either dark, golden, or a combination of both)
1 cup chopped dates
Grated rind of 1 orange

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds

A day ahead, combine the water and 1/2 c. sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, pour over apricot pieces; stir and let stand, covered, in a cool place overnight. (I put them in the fridge.)

Next day, sift dry ingredients together onto wax paper, then return them to sifter and sift again. With electric beater, cream butter and 1 c. sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each; beat in vanilla. Toss raisins, dates, orange rind and nuts with 2 Tablespoons of the flour mixture. Fold the flour, the fruits/nuts, and the apricots (lifted from their syrup with a slotted spoon) into the creamed mixture just until well distributed.

Heat oven to 350ยบ. Turn batter into a well greased and floured tube or Bundt pan, or use smaller pans. I use about 9-10 small loaf pans. Bake tube or Bundt pan about 1 hour 15 minutes or until golden brown and beginning to pull away from sides of pan. (Obviously, bake smaller pans for a shorter time. I think my small loaves take about a half hour.)

If using large pan, let cake cool in pan for about 30 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to finish cooling. For the small pans, let them cool 5 minutes or so before turning out on rack to finish cooling.

This wonderful recipe is from Cook & Tell December 1988. (The only change I made was to increase the raisins and dates a bit and to use fresh orange rind rather than candied peel. But do what you think best -- if you prefer candied peel, then you need a total of 2 cups raisins/dates/peel. ) I love to make this in little loaf pans to include in gift baskets for friends and neighbors.

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