Apricots are a slightly under-appreciated fruit. They are delicious and sweet, with an almost honeyed flavor when they’re perfectly ripe, but they don’t find their way into baked goods like pies and cobblers as often as other stone fruits do. Apricots are great for baking, however. They have an excellent flavor and are firm enough to stand up to a little time in the oven without losing their texture. They also add a beautiful color to baked goods, and this Apricots n’ Cream Upside Down Cake is a perfect example.
The cake batter is a dense, tender and moist yogurt cake. It has a buttery vanilla flavor to it with a distinct tang from the yogurt, so while it is tasty on its own, it is also a lovely contrast for the sweet apricot topping on this cake. As the name of the cake suggests, the topping starts out as the base of the cake. Thinly sliced fresh apricots are layered into a tube pan along with a little sugar and some apricot preserves, which add extra sweetness and moisture to the fruit. The cake looks like it is topped with sunshine when it comes out of the pan to serve – and it tastes like it, too. It’s a wonderful summertime cake, to be served as dessert after a barbecue or as coffee cake at a weekend brunch.
Greasing and flouring your pan will help to ensure that your fruit layer comes off of the pan cleanly. I sometimes like to line my pans with parchment paper when making upside down cakes to ensure that the topping will come out cleanly, but that is a little trickier to do with a tube pan, like the one I used here. This topping comes off best after the cake has cooled and the topping has had a chance to “set” a little bit. If any of the fruit sticks to the pan, simply scrape it off with a spatula or knife and spread it back onto the cake to make it look picture-perfect.
Apricots n’ Cream Upside Down Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt (whole or nonfat; pref. greek-style)
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup apricot preserves
4 ripe apricots
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, making sure that the first egg is thoroughly incorporated before adding the second. Beat in vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the yogurt in three additions (flour, yogurt, flour, yogurt, flour) and mixing at low speed until just combined.
Sprinkle 3 tbsp sugar into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Peel, pit and thinly slice (no more than 1/4-inch thick) apricots. Arrange into a thin, even layer on the base of the pan. Spread apricot preserves over the apricots.
Pour cake batter even over the top of the apricot layer.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan completely, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a serving plate.