How pretty is this Apricot, Walnut, and Lavender cake? We think it will be sure to get a few wows when you serve it. “The combination of walnuts, apricots, and lavender is as French as a good baguette with butter and ripe Brie, and it is every bit as invincible,” says chef Yotam Ottolenghi. You may need to bake two: Everyone in the room will want a slice!
Read on for Ottolenghi's mouthwatering recipe for Apricot, Walnut, and Lavender Cake, adapted with permission from his new book Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking From London's Ottolenghi ($21, amazon.com).
Apricot, Walnut, and Lavender Cake
Ingredients for Cake:
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
2 tbsp walnut oil
1 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp superfine sugar
1 1/4 cups almonds
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup walnuts, freshly blitzed in a food processor to a course powder
Scant 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp picked lavender flowers, fresh or dry
15 apricots (about 1 1/3 lb.), halved and pitted
Ingredients for Icing:
About 6 tbsp confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Place the butter, oil, superfine sugar, and almonds in a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in small additions and continue to beat until well incorporated. Fold in the walnuts, flour, vanilla, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of the lavender, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
2. Line the base and sides of a 9-inch, 23-cm cake pan with parchment paper. Pour in the cake batter and level the top. Arrange the apricot halves, skin side down and slightly overlapping, over the top, right to the edge. Bake in the oven for 70 to 80 minutes, covering with aluminum foil if the top starts to brown too much.
3. While the cake is baking, make the icing. Whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice to get a light, pourable icing, adjusting the amount of sugar or juice if needed. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, brush the icing on top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon lavender over the top and leave the cake to cool before serving.