Letitia Clark's Caramelised Apricot, Almond & Orange Blossom Upside-Down Cake

This cake is one of the best cakes I have ever made. It’s a little chewy at the edges, tart and juicy on the top, moist, squidgy and buttery inside. The tartness of the apricots marries perfectly with the almonds and cuts through the richness of the sponge; the caramelised top adds an edge of fudgy-intrigue, and the exotic scent of orange blossom lifts the whole lot into the arena of the angels.

Upside-down cakes are great for many reasons. Laying the fruit
at the bottom of the tin takes far less time than decorating the top of a cake/tart
with fruit, for some inexplicable reason, and looks just as (if not more) effective.
In this arrangement, you have essentially captured both the shining, caramel-glory
of a Tarte Tatin and the tart dampness of a good fruit sponge. It is the best of both
worlds, almost like having your cake and eating it.

This recipe is extracted from La Vita e Dolce By Letitia Clark (Hardie and Grant). Photography © Charlotte Bland

For the apricots

  • 15 g ( ½ oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 7–8 apricots
  • 140 g (41/2 oz/⅔ cup) sugar
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (use the same lemon for the zest)

For the cake

  • 175 g (6 oz) butter, softened,
  • plus extra to grease
  • 175 g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz/ ¾ cups, plus 2 tbsp) 00 or plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz/1 cup) ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 100 ml (3 ½ fl oz/scant ®ˆ cup) yoghurt, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • Mascarpone, to serve (optional)

How to make the cake

  1. Grease a 23cm (9 in) cake tin with butter and line with baking
    parchment. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4).
  2. Halve the apricots and remove the stones. Set aside.
  3. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently, swirling the pan rather than stirring to dissolve the sugar. Watch carefully until the mixture turns a light coffee colour, swirling occasionally to make sure the caramelisation is even. When the mixture is caramel coloured, remove from the heat.
  4. Add the butter and turn the heat down to low, stirring until it all comes together. Add the lemon juice and stir well. You should now have a smooth caramel.
  5. Pour the liquid caramel into the lined cake tin and smooth
    it out to form an even layer. Add the apricots, placing them close
    to each other, cut-side down.
  6. For the cake, in a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer
    (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar with
    the salt and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.
  7. Beat in the eggs, one by one, until incorporated. Add the flour and the ground almonds and mix again. Finally add the yoghurt, baking powder and the orange blossom water. Stir to form a smooth batter, then ladle into
    the prepared tin.
  8. Smooth the top, then bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, until
    golden and risen. Allow to cool for a few minutes before inverting
    onto a serving plate. Serve with yoghurt or a blob of mascarpone.
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

Note: If you can’t find apricots or they aren’t in season, you can use tinned ones,
which work surprisingly well.

1 comment

  • This looks wonderful. Can I just check that the oven temperature is not for a fan oven.

    Lesley on

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