Almond and Apricot Olive Oil Cake

Apricot and Almond Olive Oil Cake
from Christina Marsigliese

For one nine-inch cake:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp (175g) sugar
1 cup (230 ml) milk
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (I substituted with 1 tbsp of vanilla extract)
1 1/3 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup (25g) ground almonds
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5-6 apricots, cut into quarters (or thin wedges, to prevent pieces from sinking)
flaked almonds, for sprinkling

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Lightly butter and flour a 9×9 inch round springform cake pan and line the base with parchment paper.
  2. Place the sugar, milk, lemon zest and scraped vanilla bean seeds with the pod in a medium saucepan over low heat and bring just barely to a simmer while stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to infuse and cool down.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk through ground almonds. Add the olive oil, beaten eggs and cooled milk mixture and whisk gently to form a smooth batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and arrange the apricot quarters on top any way you like. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the sides and leaving to cool completely.
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