Trentino-Alto Adige region in Northern Italy is known for its rich hearty food heavily influenced by German cuisine. On my list of dishes that I want to try to make are such specialties from Alto Adige as garlic cream soup and plum knödel (a type of potato balls with plums inside). Italians from central and southern parts of the country sometimes roll their eyes up at a mere mention of Alto Adige dishes: they think they don’t know how to cook so far up North. However, I think food from Alto Adige combines the best of Alpine and Mediterranean cuisine with some delightful results.
The apricot tree in my garden is heavy with tasty bright fruit, so my cooking will feature apricots in all kinds of dishes for the next few weeks. Today I want to share my recipe of an Italian dessert, apricot cake, that is inspired by Marillenkuchen (torta di albicocche) from Alto Adige. The real Marillenkuchen is rich, sweet and buttery, yet my cake will be easier on your belly.
1 cup spelt flour (you can also use wheat unbleached flour instead)
1/2 cup wheat flour
120 g unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cream (or whole milk)
1 tbsp lemon zest
10 apricots, pitted, cut in chunky wedges
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix flour and baking powder. Separately warm butter and beat it with sugar and zest. Slowly add eggs until well combined. Start adding the dry ingredients and cream. Mix slowly but thoroughly. Grease the cake tin with some butter (you can line it with parchment paper instead to keep the calories down!). Pour the batter in the tin, smooth it with a spoon. Top with the apricot wedges starting from the edge and working toward the center.
Bake till the cake is golden brown, 40-45 minutes. Cool before serving.