Recipe: Strawberry, Lemon and Apricot Cake

You know when you are doubling a recipe, and you think that because you do this all the time you will be totally fine doing this in your head, and then you randomly go and forget to double some ingredients and then, for some mysterious reason, somehow quadruple other ingredients, and this doesn’t even count the fact that you had, in any case, done that usual thing where you take out the icky walnuts and replace them with something random and also don’t measure the lemon zest properly, because seriously, who measures lemon zest?, and also you added extra strawberries because STRAWBERRIES, and…

Yeah, that’s what happened here.  I was wondering why the batter was turning out so oddly, and then, as I was carrying the cakes to work last Thursday morning a little part of my brain went “wait, 15 times 16 is 240, not 480, and definitely not 500, which is what I actually used because I couldn’t be stuffed measuring the butter properly so late at night…”

Oops.  But, as it turns out, doubling the butter just turns the cake from a tea-cake texture into more of a pound cake one, and the whole thing was absolutely delicious, and best of all, I actually get to write up the recipe in my blog, because I assure you, the recipe as I adapted it, both deliberately and inadvertently, is definitely not the recipe in Nicole Routhier’s Fruit Cookbook.  Not by a long way.

So there you go.

Incidentally, this is also why there are very few photos and they are all of the cake in pieces.  I really didn’t think it was going to work.  Sorry.


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2 cups of plain flour
1 tsp bicarb of soda
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
2 large eggs
 1/2 cup caster sugar + 1/3 cup for the syrup
250 g unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
zest and juice of two lemons
500 g strawberries, hulled and cut into 1 cm pieces, or thereabouts.

Now what will you do with it?

OK, now be honest with me.  Have you chopped up all those strawberries and apricots yet?  Because we’re not starting this recipe until you have.  I’m sorry, but we are not.  Chopping the fruit is the longest part of this recipe, and if you think you are going to stop and do that right in the middle of things, while the bicarb of soda is merrily reacting with the liquid, well, don’t think it.  Unless you want this cake to be as flat and dense as a rock, and I’m not talking about the igneous kind.

Good.  Now you may pre-heat the oven to 180°C, and also line a standard loaf tin (the base should be 22 cm x 12 cm, or thereabouts) with baking paper.

(I seem to be quite bossy today, don’t I?)

After that, making the cake itself is dead easy.  Put the flour, bicarb and dried apricots in a large bowl, and toss them around a bit.

Put the eggs, sugar, melted butter, milk and lemon zest in another bowl, and beat with a fork.

Now pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones, add in the strawberries, and mix everything together – don’t go nuts beating it, but make sure that there aren’t any bits of flour lurking around the place.

Pour everything into the baking tin, and bake for about an hour to an hour and ten minutes, until it passes the skewer test.

While the cake is baking, make the syrup.  This is easy, too.  Put the lemon juice and the remaining sugar into a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Now bring the mixture to the boil, and let it boil for 3-5 minutes, until it is noticeably reduced and quite syrupy.  All done.  Take it off the heat.

When the cake is done, remove it from the tin, and pour the syrup gently over it.  You may want to do this in a couple of goes, so that you don’t wind up with a nicely lemon-syrup-infused benchtop instead of a lemon-syrup cake.  If you pour a bit over, let it melt into the cake, and then pour a bit more over, that should work fine.

Take into work to share with your colleagues.  This cake travels well (it’s fairly sturdy once cool), and I suspect it would keep well, if it had the chance.  So far, nobody has given it this chance.slice2


This cake would work beautifully with a gluten-free flour mix, so have at it.  It will, however, never be low in fructose, since fruit is pretty much the point of this exercise.  It’s also not going to veganise terribly well, since butter provides a fair bit of the flavour.  You could replace the eggs with apple sauce and half a teaspoon of baking powder for an egg-free version of this, and of course it is already nut-free.

In terms of flavours, blueberries would be amazing here, too, and would require less chopping.  In fact, blueberries orange zest and dried peach might be rather lovely as a combination.  But apparently that’s the best I can do right now, sorry.


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