I seem to be just a bit late for everything these days. A bit late for work, a bit late for appointments and a bit late for Sugar High Friday! This was supposed to be my entry for Sugar High Friday #22, hosted by Nicky and Oliver of Delicious Days, the theme of which is canning and all the sorts of wonderful ways that we can preserve sweet things in jars.
My family has a long history with jam. For years my mother made the most delicious cherry jam from the fruit of the tree that graced our backyard. Besides cherry, we’ve enjoyed the sweetness of strawberry, plum and even peach jam. This year, however, has been the year of the apricot.
When it comes to apricot jam, there is only one recipe that we turn to and it’s a recipe from Patricia Wells‘ featured in the June 2002 issue of Food & Wine. The jam is called Maryse’s Apricot Jam. While I have no idea who Maryse is, her jam recipe highlights the beauty of the apricot. All you really need for great jam is a great starting point and that means using the best fruit you can find.
Our cold cellar is well-stocked with apricot jam so we have nothing to fear during the long winter. I will be slathering that delicious concoction on many slices of buttered toast. But as luck would have it, a casual perusal of a cherished cookbook led to a recipe that called for apricot preserves.
Caprial Pence’s Caprial’s Desserts is one of my very favourites. I happened to be looking through the book and came across a master recipe for coffee cake that had an apricot-almond variation that calls for apricot preserves to be mixed into a portion of the cake batter. Excited, I tried the recipe using the jam we made and must say it’s one of the best coffee cakes I’ve had in a very long time.
Nicky and Oliver, I’m sorry that I missed Friday’s Sugar High. But you know what they say … better late than never.
Apricot-Almond Coffee Cake
Adapted from Caprial’s Desserts by Caprial Pence and Melissa Carey.
- 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1-3/4 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sour cream
- 3/4 cup apricot jam (if your jam is not loose, then mix in a bit of hot water and stir to make it a bit more liquidy)
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 by 13-inch pan.
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and mix well; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
- Add half the dry ingredients and mix on low speed.
- Add half the sour cream and mix well.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients, followed by the sour cream. Mix well.
- Take one-third of the batter and put it in a medium bowl. Add the apricot jam and mix well.
- Spread half the remaining batter over the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the apricot batter over that layer. Top with the remaining batter and spread evenly over the apricot batter layer.
- Sprinkle the almonds over the top layer of batter.
- Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Note: This cake serves 12.