July 20, 2019


Earlier this week a friend gave me a whole box of apricots from her tree.  There were several kilos of beautiful fruit, all ready to eat or use very soon, so I had to put my thinking cap on.  The first thought that sprung to mind was to make jam.
However, I'm not really a jam making person in the sense that whilst I enjoy the process of making jam and find it very satisfying and therapeutic (there's something so homely and wholesome about it), we don't actually eat a lot of jam.  Consequently the pleasure from the making is short lived when trying to find somewhere to store the jars of jam or someone to give them to.  It seems most of our family and friends don't use a lot of jam either and more tends to come our way than we can give away.  The result is a net gain of home made jam every year, delicious and tempting stuff.  We have home made jam dating back to 2014 or even earlier, unopened and crying out for a good scone...….

One of the benefits of being a recipe addict is that I recall a lot of recipes.  By that I mean that I can recall that I saw somewhere a recipe for something or other - remembering where I actually saw it is more of a challenge.  In this case I remembered that I had seen a recipe by Bill Grainger for a cake that might just do for my apricots.  I have no idea who Bill Grainger is other than that he is Australian and I have seen his books for sale here and there.  As it happens, after I had seen this recipe on the internet some time ago I then spotted the book that it comes from in a charity shop for £1 so I bought it.  It is in fact full of interesting and useful recipes.

The method is unusual in that you make a rubbed-in mixture, put half of it in the tin, put the fruit on top, add more ingredients to the other half of the mixture to make a batter and pour over the fruit.  It produces a very moist cake with a firmer layer on the bottom which makes it work as either a cake or a dessert.  I made mine using a food processor so it was very quick and easy to make.  The original recipe is for a peach and raspberry slice so it occurred to me that my apricots and a handful of blueberries would be an ideal alternative. 
It was absolutely delicious.  Just as delicious as the peach and raspberry combination would also be I'm sure.  I had to guess how much fruit to use - how many apricots of various sizes are the same as three peaches?  It made very moist cake so I wondered if less fruit would be better next time but several comments where the recipe appears on the internet suggest using less liquid in the batter so I might try that.  One of the places you can see it is here.
In any case, it is definitely one I shall be making again.  This is how I adapted the recipe: 
185g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder plus an extra ½ tsp
125g butter, chilled and diced
115g **soft brown sugar 
115g **caster sugar
9 apricots, halved and stoned
a handful of blueberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
185 ml ** milk
Grease and line the base of a 24cm square baking tin.  Preheat the oven to 180C / 160 fan / gas mk4. 
Sift the flour and 1½ tsp baking powder into a food processor with the butter.  Blitz for a few seconds to make crumbs.  Add the sugars and blitz again to mix.
Tip half of the crumbs (I did actually weigh mine) into the prepared tin and press over the base.  Scatter the fruit evenly over the top. 
Add the vanilla, egg, milk and the other ½ tsp baking powder to the food processor and process to make a batter.  Pour this over the fruit and bake for about an hour until golden brown.  Cool in the tin.
Cuts into about 15 slices. 
** I made second cake using less sugar and less milk. 
100g each of the sugars, 150ml milk.  It was better I think.


  1. I'm so pleased to hear that you make jam that sits in the cupboard for years - I thought it was just me that did that. I recently finally had to admit that the 2013 marmalade was really past its best. Nice cake and just the sort of thing that I'd expect Smiling Bill to come up with. I'm a bit surprised that you've not come across BG (the egg king of Sydney) more often. His TV series around 10 years ago was possibly the most laid back cookery series I've ever seen.

    1. Phil, I'm sorry I missed him on the telly. Judging by the recipes in the book it would have been worth watching.