I missed apricot season last year. And cherry season too. We spent the spring in northern Louisiana and then the summer back in Los Angeles, and a whole season got lost in the shuffle. I am now very much making up for it.
This time of year, and really any one of those magical times where one season is becoming the next, leaves me giddy. I wander through the Hollywood Farmers Market in a haze of strawberry smells and tomato slices on tooth picks, pulling me one way and then the other. I have no plan, but to buy any fruit or vegetable that looks delicious and elusive. I'll figure out what to do with them later, and I do. I buy morels, and then make pasta with fresh peas and lemon cashew cream. And then some melon too, just to eat. I spend most of our weekly food budget and don't feel at all bad. It's important that the boy know that peas don't grow in freezer bags.
Apricot Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2003, via Epicurious
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. black strap molasses (Or skip this and go with 1/2 c. brown sugar)
3 T. butter (Earth Balance Vegan Stick)
about 8 large apricots
1 T. vinegar
3/4 c. soy milk
2 T. flax meal
6 T. water
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. white whole wheat flour (if you don't have it, use more all-purpose, don't use regular whole wheat)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 c. butter (Earth Balance Vegan Stick)
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
Heat the oven to 375.
In an 8-inch cast iron skillet, melt butter. Mix together the sugar and molasses, and add to the butter in the pan. Stir. Cook for about 1 minute, until sugar is mostly melted. Slice the apricots in half and arrange in pan cut-side down. Remove from heat.
Make cake batter:
Pour the tablespoon vinegar into a glass measuring cup and add enough soy milk to make 3/4 cup. Stir with a fork and set aside until thickened. (i.e. make non-dairy buttermilk)
In a very small bowl, stir together the flax meal and water. Set aside to thicken.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butters, sugar, and extracts until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
Give the flax mixture a quick stir, and add half of it to the butter and sugar. Beat to incorporate. Add the other half, and continue beating until the mixture is light in color and doubled in volume (about 2 minutes).
Alternate stirring in the buttermilk and dry ingredients, starting and ending with the dry mix. Stir in 1/3 of the dry, then 1/2 the buttermilk, and so on. (Don't over-mix this part!)
Assemble the cake:
Pour batter over fruit in skillet. Smooth with a rubber spatula. And bake for 40 - 45 minutes at 375 until a tooth pick comes out clean. Immediately invert onto a plate.
Serve warm, or cool. (Either way, you'll want to eat this.)
Happy Apricot Season! Apart from eating them immediately, what's your favorite way to enjoy an apricot?