This is a simple cake and very easy to make. Sometimes people think that if something is simple, then it can't be very good, but they are so wrong . . . wrong, wrong!
In my experience it is quite often the simplest things that taste the best of all!
Our local shops frequently have punnets of stone fruit on for £1 a punnet. They call it home ripening fruit, but . . . in my experience it never ripens. That fruit will rot before it ripens. It never gets soft or sweet. I am not sure why that is. Perhaps it is the stuff they spray on it to keep it so that it will store in their warehouses longer, I don't know. Maybe they don't really do that, perhaps it's nothing more than an old wive's tale or a nasty rumour . . .
Having said that one wonders why even risk eating it at all, I don't know! I expect if it is well washed it is ok for consumption. We'll just go down that route ok?
Anyways, just because you know it won't ever really truly ripen to the point where you could eat it out of hand, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't risk buying it. These fruits are quite often the perfect fruits to bake or cook with!
When you do bake a cake or a crumble, or a pie, it's quite acceptable and even desireable to use fruit that's not quite fully ripened. It holds it's shape better, and the cooking process makes it highly edible. A bit of sugar and it sweetens up quite nicely.
I got a punnet of apricots earlier in the week for a pound and they were just perfect for this cake. Plums would also work very well.
It's a flat kind of cake. I like to dust it with lots of icing sugar and then serve it up with dollops of creme fraiche. Todd would say it is one of his favourites. ☺ I ♥ that!
*Apricot Sheet Cake*
Makes one baking sheet sized cake
A sweet batter encasing lovely baked apricots. You will need a baking sheet approximately 10 by 15 inches in size.
160g of unsalted butter, softened (about 11 1/2 TBS)
240g of caster sugar (1 1/4 cup)
4 large free range eggs
the finely grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
1 tsp almond extract
300g of plain flour (2 1/4 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
6 TBS milk
Enough apricot halves to cover the baking sheet when halved
sugar for sprinkling
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Butter a baking sheet with a one inch lip. Lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggsuntil combines. Stir in the lemon zest and almond extract. Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternately with the milk, until all are well combined. Spread this batter into the pan. Wash the apricots and cut in half, discarding the pit. Lay the halves on top of the batter decoratively, rounded side down and open side up. Sprinkle with some sugar.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before serving. Dust with some icing sugar before serving if desired.