Breakfast Tuesday: Apricot Coffee Cake

August 2, 2011

It comes as no surprise that breakfast is my favorite meal, but it often surprises people to find out that it’s generally my biggest meal of the day. I’m not sure how that happened, because my family never put a whole lot of emphasis on breakfast and I, myself, am not what you would call an early riser. And not only is it my biggest meal, it also tends to be the healthiest, too, usually containing some sort of nut/protein, yogurt/milk, fruit, whole grain, etc. I love these breakfasts because they get me through the week, all energized and ready to go get ‘em.

Enter Breakfast Tuesday – why, if you like healthy stuff so much, and if its such an important part of your day, do you go crazy once a week with sugar-loaded borderline non-breakfast foods that couldn’t possibly help keep you energized, that make you want to take naps after indulging? For better or worse, I have an emotional relationship with food, meaning that the type of things I eat and when I eat them are often due to how I feel, or how I want to feel, not just in the physical sense. It’s not necessarily a good thing, and perhaps not a good thing at all, but it’s a huge part of my life that I’ve learned to deal with and, for all intensive purpose, enjoy. My sugary non-breakfast breakfasts are pretty important to my week, like a treat I’m giving myself for making it through the week, or just something sweet to start my day. Like today. I wanted some cake for breakfast.

I’ve been craving coffee cake, a craving I know some of my friends will totally understand, and really wanted to bake with the fresh baby apricots I had picked up at the market a few days prior. When I was reading recipes, though, I came across some startling news, that apricots get really, really sour when baked. This was something of which I was totally unaware, so it caught me by surprise and made me question my choice. Do I go ahead with it, baking an apricot coffee cake with these apricots which are oh-so-sweet now and amazing by themselves? Obviously I went on with it, taking the chance. Yes, the apricots did become sour. Yes, I still enjoyed the cake. The apricots were more sour but they still retained a delicate apricot flavor and the cake was sturdy enough to balance everything out. The original recipe calls for just milk, while I did half milk and half yogurt. The cake wasn’t all that delicate, but I liked that it was hearty enough to constitute breakfast.

Apricot Coffee Cake

(Recipe adapted from Freeing my Martha)

Yields 8 to 10 servings in a 8 inch square or 9 inch round pan

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup milk

½ cup yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

1 pound tiny apricots, pitted and halved*

¼ cup granulated sugar

*The original recipe calls for 2 cups apricots, pitted and diced, then tossed with ¼ cup sugar. I found cute, tiny apricots and decided to use those and create something along the lines of Dorie Greenspan’s dimply plum cake – a dimply apricot (coffee) cake! After halving the apricots, I tossed them with ¼ cup sugar and the sugar ended up turning into a glaze on the finished product, which was delicious. Without it, the cake might not have been sweet enough to balance the tartness of the baked apricots.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare either an 8-inch or 9-inch baking pan by greasing with butter or baking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and egg until light and creamy. Add milk, vanilla, and yogurt. Whisk or stir until smooth.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just until smooth.

5. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and smooth top. Place halved apricots on top of batter, skin-side down. If you end up having too many halves, you can definitely squeeze them in between other halves without compromising the look of the finished product.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes if using an 8-inch pan, and 35 minutes if using a 9-inch pan, or until a cake tester comes out dry.

7. Let cake sit for 15 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Store cake in an airtight container or covered with plastic, refrigerated, up to two days after baking. I have to say, though, this cake was its best the day it was baked!

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