I know I am completely obsessed with Nigella Lawson at the moment but please humour me for one more post. I’ve been working my way through her new cookbook, Simply Nigella, and there is a lot to love in there.
Nigella’s strength has always been baking and the recipes in the sweet end of the book are all spot on. In particular I can highly recommend the lemon meringue pavlova and the cookie dough puddings. But the recipe I’ve actually made for a few occasions is Nigella’s almond and apricot cake.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the cake is delicious. It’s really dense and sweet but not cloying. It works as a celebration cake (I made it for my Mum’s birthday) but also as the sort of thing you have a slice of with a cup of tea. Secondly, it’s super easy as you essentially just put all the ingredients in a food processor and then bake it. Finally, it’s gluten free which is a winner when so many people have dietary restrictions now.
I made a few tweaks to Nigella’s recipe because I just can’t help myself. I omitted the cardamon seeds after not having any on hand and substituted the suggested rose water for orange blossom water which I feel is a better match with the apricots. I’m sure once you’ve made this once you’ll add it to your own favourites list and start putting your own spin on it as well.
- 150 grams dried apricots
- 250 ml cold water
- 200 grams ground almonds
- 50 grams fine polenta
- 1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if required)
- 150 grams caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsps lemon juice
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- butter to grease the tin
- to decorate
- 2 tsps apricot jam
- 2 ½ teaspoons pistachios, finely chopped
- 1. Put the dried apricots into a small saucepan, cover them with the cold water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for 10 mins or until it is just about out of water.
- 2. Take the pan off the heat and let the apricots cool. Preheat the oven to 180° grease the sides of a springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- 3. Pour and scrape out the sticky contents of the pan into the bowl of a food processor. Add the ground almonds, polenta, baking powder, caster sugar and eggs, and give a good long blitz to combine.
- 4. Open the top of the food processor, scrape down the batter, add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and the orange blossom water, and blitz again, then scrape into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
- 5. Bake for 4O mins, cover with foil at the 30 min mark. When it’s ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin, the top will feel firm, and a cake tester will come out with just one or two damp crumbs on it.
- 6. Remove the cake to a wire rack but leave it in its tin. Brush the apricot jam over the top of the cake then sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and leave the cake to cool in its tin before removing it and serving.
- Can store for a week in an air proof container in the fridge or can freeze for three months.