This cake really makes the best of apricots, especially those that are lacking in flavour or are underripe.
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 60 minutes
For the apricots
50g butter, plus more for the tin
7-8 fresh apricots (not too ripe), halved and stoned
125g caster sugar
1 tbsp runny honey
For the cake
150g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
100g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
125ml full-fat milk
Butter a 20-23cm cake tin and prepare the apricots.
Put the sugar and 75ml water into a small saucepan. Heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved. When the sugar has melted bring to the boil and watch until the syrup starts to turn to caramel (it will turn golden first). Swish the pan a bit. Once it becomes caramel (you will know by the smell and colour) take off the heat and add the butter. Stir once the butter has melted. Pour into the tin and place the apricots, close together and cut-side down, on top.
Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan*/gas mark 4.
To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition (add a couple of spoonfuls of flour if it starts to curdle). Sift together the flour and baking powder and stir in the almonds. Add the vanilla, then the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
Spoon this over the apricots and bake for 50 minutes. When the cake is cooked, a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Run a knife between the cake and the tin and invert on to a plate. If some apricots have stuck to the tin, replace them on the cake.
Gently heat the honey. Using a pastry brush, glaze the top of the cake. The honey will run down the sides to give a lush, home-made look. Leave to cool. The cake is lovely with crème fraîche or a mixture of sweetened Greek yogurt and double cream.
*Diana's conversion may differ slightly from the standard
Recipe from 'Food From Plenty' by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley, £25). Order a copy from books.telegraph.co.uk