The people at the fruit stand last weekend told me hail damaged a lot of their apricot crop. Many of the tiny fruit had deep, scarred pockmarks. This explained why the baskets were only $5 each. After a few days of letting them soften at room temperature, I tasted one and was disappointed with their blandness. Making a cake that had other strong flavours seemed like a good way to use up these less-than-perfect specimens.
Plenty More, a cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi is the source for this recipe. Aside from substituting a vegetable oil for the expensive walnut oil, and grinding the almonds myself, I stuck to the recipe. Do try to squeeze as many apricots on the surface as you can, as they shrink quite a bit during baking.
I love nut cakes, and this one did not disappoint. It’s moist and not too dense, and the tart apricots keep the sweetness in check. I loved the subtle pine-like fragrance from the fresh lavender I used. My only criticism would be that the lemon icing on top didn’t appeal to me. I would brush strained apricot jam, or make a honey syrup or something like that next time.