Apricot streusel cake (and freezer excavation)

imageMy Norwegian relatives all have chest freezers. Big, sturdy, capable of storing large cuts of moose and deer, self-caught fish, buckets of foraged berries, extra cakes and loaves of bread. You never know, you might get snowed in. Living in a sunny but space-limited flat in Rome, I still hanker for a chest freezer, but make do with my fridge-freezer. However, my small freezer is stuffed: peas, Norwegian salmon, extra brown cheese, herbs from the balcony ….. and box after box of icy mystery bits. Soup, leftover cheese, experimental sorbets, a pea risotto, eggwhites….. What IS all this? And why is there never room in my freezer?

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Here is the first stowaway located: apricots from last July. Probably tossed in the freezer the night before a holiday, and since forgotten. This is clearly a sign to make an apricot cake. This was inspired by The Food Librarian’s Nectarine Streusel Coffee Cake which I bookmarked last summer and never got around to trying. Her cake looks so delicious! I used apricots, added some wholewheat flour and an extra egg, and reduced the amounts of butter and sugar.

Apricot streusel cake
Cake:
2 eggs
1/2 cup lowfat milk
40 gr softened butter
200 grammes plain flour
25 gr wholewheat flour
35 gr sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

13-14 apricot halves (mine were still a bit frozen), pitted and unpeeled but sliced

Streusel topping:
75 gr plain flour
25 gr wholewheat flour
50 gr light brown sugar
15 gr white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
20 gr cold butter, shaved in

Heat your oven to 220C. Line a 20×30 cm baking pan (a small rectangle) with baking paper.

Beat two eggs and milk. Add softened butter (I just put it in an ovenproof dish in the pre-heating oven for a couple of minutes). Whisk in flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Spread batter in base of baking pan (it may look thin, but it will rise.) Having sliced your apricot halve into 3-4 pieces each, scatter them over the batter base and press them lightly into batter. No fancy pattern in apricot pieces here, this is just a simple cake for our afternoon tea.

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For the streusel topping: mix flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. With a knife, shave the cold butter in and press mixture with a fork, until it looks like large crumbs. Scatter this evenly over the apricot-topped batter base.

Bake 35-40 minutes at 220C, depending on your oven, until the visible cake at edges looks lightly golden and the streusel topping is getting a bit of golden colour but is not turning dark. You wil see the fruit juices bubbling through in some places. Enjoy as soon as it is cool enough to be held!

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Notes: for an impromptu cake, this was very nice! The partially thawed apricots worked well, they are still nice and tart against the cake and streusel, which were still plenty sweet despite reducing the sugar in the cake batter from 150 grammes to 35 grammes. I am still experimenting with using less butter and sugar in baking, while retaining enough flavour to enjoy the result with a nice cup of tea. I might try this again with pears. Now I just need to plot what to do with the rest of those frozen apricots, now back in the freezer but in a much smaller box. Hmmmmm……. Any suggestions?

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