Tiny Apricot Cakes

27 06 2009


I had promised the world tiny beet cakes, and I couldn’t deliver. Sorry, world!  I had expected beets in our produce box this week, and I did get beets. Only they were baby beets. Crying, diapered, in need of one of those bulbous syringes to clean out their noses, adorable baby beets. I couldn’t sacrifice them for beet cakes. I’ll wait until I get some surly adolescent beets with combat boots and perpetual scowls. No one will mind if I use those for cakes.  

But we did get apricots. BOY did we get apricots. And apricots, like greens, tend to go from perfect to mashy in the blink of an eye. I thought about fruit-based desserts. Cobbler? Buckle? Tiny pies? But cake won out. I wanted cake. I needed cake. I was having a cake attack. So I turned, once again, to Debbie Maugans Nakos’s Small Batch Baking. She’s my guru, that Debbie. (Note to self:  Build Debbie altar in kitchen). She didn’t have any specific recipes for apricot cakes, though I think there was something involving apricot jam. Undaunted, I decided to tinker with her Old-Fashioned Yellow Cake recipe to make it apricot-friendly.  


The results were perfect, if I do say so myself (my best quality is my humility, in case you were wondering). The cake was cakey and perfectly moist. The apricots hung, suspended in the batter, so that they were smattered throughout. The cream-cheese icing I whipped up complemented the flavors well. I think a chocolate icing might also do the trick here. Or no icing.  Or just eating the batter with your fingers straight from the bowl.  


Tiny Apricot Cakes (adapted from Debbie Maugans Nakos’s Old-Fashioned Yellow Cake recipe. Thank you, Debbie!

Makes 2 tiny ramekin-sized cakes.  There’s that word again, ramekin.  Yeesh!

Cake ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (Debbie says sifted, but I’m just not a sifter), plus a little more for dusting the greased ramekins

3 tablespoons buttermilk (I didn’t have any, or my usual substitute, Greek yogurt.  I used almond milk with 1/2 tsp of vinegar)

1/8 tsp baking soda

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbs melted butter

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 apricots

Cream Cheese Icing (My icing recipes are very loosey-goosey.  You know, add more butter, oops, now more sugar, oops, now some milk…  Apologies in advance if this is disappointing)

2 Tbs butter

3 oz cream cheese (I used reduced-fat because I had some left over from the tiny blueberry cheesecakes)

2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, possibly more

1-2 Tbs milk-like substance  (I never seem to have cow’s milk around.  I used almond milk here.  I can’t even imagine milking almonds, can you?  I really appreciate what those almond farmers must go through)

1/4 – 1/2 tsp vanilla (although I didn’t have any. I ran plumb out making the cake.)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter ramekins and dust with flour.  

Slice 1 1/2 of the apricots into small pieces. Mine were about 1/4 – 1/8 inch thin, and about 1/2 inch tall and wide. I think you could go smaller if you’d like. I really wanted some good chunks in there, though. Reserve the final 1/2 apricot for slicing into fancy pieces to fan out on the tops of your cakes after they’re iced. Or, if you’re like me, forget about them entirely and then eat them when you’re feeling sad and empty because the cakes have been devoured.  

Mix buttermilk, baking soda, egg yolk, vanilla, and melted butter in a small bowl.

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in another bowl.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients, stir until just blended. Then add apricot pieces and gently mix them into the batter. Be careful not to over mix, as we’re always cautioned!

Divide the batter into the prepared ramekins. Bake them for about 25 or so minutes, you know, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  

When they’re finished, let them cool. Run a knife around the edges of the ramekins, and the cakes should easily come out. Don’t be hasty and ice them when they’re warm, as your icing will get a bit melty and runny, like mine did. I couldn’t help it. Remember? I was in cake panic.  

In fact, maybe you should wait until they come out of the oven to make the icing. That will force you to wait for them to cool. To make the icing, mix the butter and cream cheese in a mixer. I used my stand mixer, because I seriously love that thing. Add the confectioner’s sugar, then the vanilla.  Then add the milk slowly, a bit at a time, until you get your favorite consistency. If you add too much milk, no problem, just add a little more sugar. I like my cake icing to be a little on the gloppy side, but I’m probably in the minority here.  

After the cakes are iced, decorate with the leftover apricot slices to really impress yourself. Or whomever you’re sharing them with.  


runny icing due to cake-frenzy-induced impatience

runny icing due to cake-frenzy-induced impatience




One response

29 06 2009


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