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twice baked cake with roasted apricot filling

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Who knew you could make a soft fruit cake like it was a pie? Have you ever blind baked sponge? This is such an awesome idea I keep baking this cake again and again.

twice baked cake with apricot filling cuisinefiend.com

A pie is a pie is a pie

Pies with soft fruit filling, apple, cherry or blueberry are made from shortcrust pastry. Be it plain pie crust or sweet pasta frolla Italian style, or cornmeal pastry, it is still shortcrust of one type or another.

It’s basically flour and fat – sometimes sweetened, other times plain – bound with a little water, milk or egg, crunchy and crumbly but meltingly tender.

layer cake with roasted apricots and icing cuisinefiend.com

Banish soggy bottoms!

There are several tricks to avoid soggy bottoms in a pie which invariably threatens when juicy fruit is about. Blind baking is one way, pre-cooking the fruit another; my own trick is to spread some cream cheese over the pastry case to seal it before the fruit flows in.

double decker apricot cake cuisinefiend.com

What are other soft fruit bakes?

The other type of bakes with soft fruit is a buttery or airy sponge which fruit is delicately folded into, or else arranged on top, to half-sink gently amidst the billowing batter. Of course it often ends up sinking all the way to the bottom, thus taking us back to the same problem as in the case of pie: soggy bottom, a wet mess of a fruit layer covered by a depth of boring plain cake.

Soggy bottoms - begone!

Here, too, we can hack it: chop the fruit small or toss it with a little flour before plunging into cake; use smaller fruit with lighter batters and the chunky ones atop more substantial sponge.

Reduce the thickness of cake base so the fruit has less depth to sink into, or perversely place the fruit at the bottom to be covered with cake mix like in the upside down, Tatin-style confections.

sponge pie cake with roasted apricot filling cuisinefiend.com

A new type of cake

But this is a new phenomenon: twice baked cake! Blind baked sponge! Layer cake baked with filling! Sponge pie! Double decker with baked-in fruit layer! It is an awesomely simple idea and the only trick is to get the first (blind?) bake just right, or we risk getting the opposite to soggy bottoms – burnt base.

Szarlotka is not a charlotte cake

I found the recipe at Moje Wypieki (My Baking), a lovely Polish cake and bake site, where it is described as a kind of charlotte cake, but this is the typical lost in translation misnomer. Charlotte cake in the rest of Europe means a sponge palisade surrounding a pile of cream and fruit, no bake, just chill.

Poles though apply the term (szarlotka) to a kind of tray bake apple pie: two layers of pastry with cooked fruit filling between them. And they allow the pastry to be other than shortcrust too.

sponge cake baked with apricot filling layer cuisinefiend.com

Impossible cake!

So here we have it: half the light and airy, egg-beaten batter lines the bottom of the tin and bakes till set. Then the fruit comes on – I roasted it to minimise the runniness – flooded with the remaining pastry and returns to the oven.

You can ice it when ready, cleverly using the juices left after roasting fruit, or you can just dust over uneven top with icing sugar. And it’s an impossibly delightful impossible cake.

twice baked cake with roasted apricot filling

Servings: 16Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • For the filling:
  • 800g (2 pounds) apricots
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp. plain flour
  • For the cake:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 90g (scant ½ cup) caster sugar
  • 70ml (4 tbsp.) groundnut or rapeseed oil
  • 30ml (1½ tbsp.) milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g (½ cup plus 2 tbsp.) plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • For the icing:
  • 140g (1 cup) icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. boiling water


METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas 8.

2. Wash and stone the apricots and cut them into quarters, Place them on a baking dish in a single layer, sprinkle with the sugar and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, drizzle with lemon juice and leave to cool.

roasting apricots cuisinefiend.com

3. Turn the oven down to 175C (no fan if possible)/350F/gas 4. Line a square 20 x 20cm cake tin with parchment.

4. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer with the balloon whisk attachment or a standard large bowl if using a hand-held mixer. Beat until tripled in volume, about 7 minutes at top speed.

5. Continue beating and pour in the oil at a thin steady stream. Pour in milk in the same way, beat in the vanilla extract.

6. Stir the baking powder into the flour and gently fold it into the egg mix with a spatula, taking care not to deflate.

7. Pour half the mix into the prepared tin (it will be about 260g). Bake for 15 minutes until set and coloured. In the meantime remove the apricots from their baking dish with a slotted spoon into a bowl and toss them with 1 tbsp. flour. If there’s any baking juice in the dish, save it and add to the icing.

blind baking sponge cuisinefiend.com

8. Remove from the oven and spoon the apricots over the cake base in an even layer. Pour the rest of the cake batter over the apricots and return to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and cool in the tin.

second baking with apricot filling cuisinefiend.com

9. To make the icing, beat the icing sugar with the apricot juice and enough hot water to make it smooth and not too runny. Ice the cake and leave to set before cutting into squares.

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