Even here, in Los Angeles, you can feel the end of summer in the air. At the Farmers Market’s the summer fruit is getting to be less and less.
Last week I grabbed the last few apricots. I immediately came home and made a cornmeal upside down cake. The apricots were amazing and jammy. I added some lemon zest and tarragon and it gave it the freshest flavor!
I used apricots and some of my homemade apricot brandy. You can use any stone fruit and change up the liquor. How about plums and cassis? Or Peaches with Grand Mariner? The possibilities are endless.
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Apricot Cornmeal Cake
- 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
- 3/4 cup Dark brown Sugar, packed
- 2 Tbs. Apricot Brandy I make my own. You can use store bought or Grand Marnier.
- 2 pounds Fresh Apricots, sliced in half and pitted
- 1-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
- 1/4 cup Good Quality Cornmeal
- 1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Zest
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup White Granulated Sugar
- 2 jumbo eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract almond extract would work here too.
- 1/4 tsp. Fresh chopped Tarragon
- 1/2 cup Whole Milk
- In a 10" skillet, melt butter, over a medium heat. Add brown sugar and brandy. WHile constantly stirring, bring to s slow boil.Remove from heat and let cool slightly.Arrange the apricot halves in concentric circles, covering all the sugar/butter.Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Set aside.In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is fully incorporated.Add in vanilla and tarragon.
- Turn mixer to low speed and add flour mixture, alternating with milk, in halves.Be careful to not overwork the batter. You can gently finish with a spatula. The batter will be thick.Carefully, spread the batter over the apricots, in pan. I use an ice cream scoop to place the batter and then gently spread and smooth evenly over fruit.Work gingerly so as not to move fruit around too much. It doesn't have to be perfect.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes. You want your cake to just be starting to pull away from the side of skillet.I recently started "listening" to my cakes. If they are bubbling too loud, they are still cooking. You want the center to feel set in the center. You can also check internal temp. It shold be around 195°. Remeber it will still bake a little when out of oven.
- Let cool for about 20 minutes, then run knife around edge to loosen cake from pan.Carefully, turn cake out onto platter, slightly larger than the pan.Garnish with some fresh tarragon or mint.Serve while still warm.