These are apriums.
They are different than pluots. They are 3/4 apricot and 1/4 plum. Pluots are 3/4 plum and 1/4 apricot. Can I be honest here? They look like apricots to me. They taste like apricots to me. I’m sure the farmers who worked very hard to bring me these hybrids aren’t very pleased with those statements, but I’m not here to tell lies.
If it makes them feel better, I think they are delicious. I mean, I love apricots. Apricot jam is wonderful. Apricot in yogurt is also really lovely. And, as it turns out, apricots on cake is really great too.
Do you know what else I love? Hand beating things that really require an electric mixer. After these past 2 cakes, I have now learned to dread sentences like “beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy.” One, I am using a salad serving spoon, because I do not have a wooden spoon. Two, my arm’s “medium-high” speed probably does not come close to an electric mixer’s medium-high speed, nor does it last more than 30 seconds at a time. Do you need a visual?
That’s me and some butter and eggs trying to get fluffy together (but did you note the apron? that’s right, she can be taught). It took about 6 minutes, and my arms were not happy about it, and we probably didn’t get as fluffy and pale as we should’ve. But who wants to be fluffy and pale anyway? Not me.
So maybe this cake was a little denser than it should’ve been. That’s ok by me. To be honest, I prefer dense cakes to airy ones. I don’t want to eat a sponge. I want to eat moist doughy dense goodness.
And apricots on top. By god, apricots on top.
Fresh Apricot Upside-Down Cake
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (I reduced this to about half a stick, and to be honest, I can’t imagine putting a whole stick in there. and you know how much I love butter. it was totally decadent with half a stick, take my word for it here)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
10 or 11 small (2- to 2 1/4-inch) fresh apricots (1 1/4 lb), halved lengthwise and pitted (i used more like 15)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
a 10-inch well-seasoned cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet (at least 2 inches deep)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Make topping: Heat butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter, then cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all of sugar will be melted). Remove skillet from heat and arrange apricot halves, cut sides down, close together on top of brown sugar.
Make cake batter: Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt into a small bowl.
Beat together butter, sugar, and extracts in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 3 to 4 minutes with a handheld. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat until mixture is creamy and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beat just until combined.
Gently spoon batter over apricots and spread evenly.
Bake cake: If your skillet isn’t ovenproof, wrap handle with heavy-duty foil (or a double layer of regular foil) before baking. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Wearing oven mitts, immediately invert a large plate over skillet and, keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert cake onto plate. Carefully lift skillet off cake and, if necessary, replace any fruit that is stuck to bottom of skillet. Cool to warm or room temperature.