- STEP 1
First, make your cake mixture. This is terribly easy. Put the flour, almonds, xanthan gum and baking powder in a bowl together and give a quick mix with a spoon.
- STEP 2
Beat the caster sugar and butter for a few minutes, in a separate bowl, using electric beaters, or a Kitchenaid. Add an egg, then half the flour and beat gently, followed by another egg and the rest of the flour mixture, the essence and the milk and beat again. Set the mixture aside while you get on with the apricots.
- STEP 3
In a large frying pan, about 25cm in diameter, fry the soft brown sugar and butter till the sugar has dissolved slightly.
- STEP 4
Place the apricots upside down in concentric circles in the bubbling sugar. Their curves should be facing upwards. Let this mixture caramelise for about ten minutes: don’t let it turn to toffee too much: you want the cake to slip out of the pan later.
- STEP 5
After 10-15 minutes, spread your cake mixture carefully and evenly over the top of the apricots. I am often in a bit of a rush when I do this, and I still haven’t learned my lesson: I inadvertently move the apricots when I am spreading the mixture, which in turn causes the final result to look a little lopsided. The only way to avoid this is by being very slow and careful with the spreading. Try to be patient.
- STEP 6
Once you have covered the apricots evenly, place the pan into the oven, and bake at 180 degrees celsius for 20 minutes, and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, and let rest for at least 15 minutes in the pan somewhere warm and draught free.
- STEP 7
After 15 minutes' resting time, take a spatula, and gently run it around the edges of the pan, making sure you are also loosening the underside of the cake. Keep shaking the pan as you go, to encourage the loosening process. Place a large plate over the top of the pan- the plate should be bigger than the pan itself- and very carefully, but quickly, flip it over. The cake should slip out onto the plate, with all the little golden apricots facing upwards.
- STEP 8
Serve immediately, with cream or ice cream. This keeps very well, covered, for a few days, and the flavours are all the better for it.