We're celebrating stone fruit this week since it's the tail end of the season, when cherries, peaches, plums, etc. are plentiful, high in quality, and inexpensive.
Apricots are wonderful in cakes and pies because once baked, they melt into a custardy mess that’s as rich and tangy as fruit curd. They also require less prep time than other fruits—there’s no need to peel or slice them.
This coffeecake offers lots of the crumbly streusel topping that everyone loves. It’s best eaten the day it is baked.
2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup rolled oats 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 egg 1/2 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream 1/4 teaspoon almond extract Five whole apricots, halved and pitted
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and set a rack in the middle. Grease an 8 x 8-inch pan. Set aside.
2. Combine the flour and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Working quickly with the tips of your fingers, add the butter and blend in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and the butter bits are no larger than the size of a pea.
3. Place 1 cup of this mixture in a medium bowl. Mix in the brown sugar and oats—this is your streusel topping. Set aside.
4. Add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda to dry ingredients in the large bowl; stir to combine. Stir in the egg, buttermilk, and almond extract until the batter is fairly smooth and only small lumps remain. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the apricot halves, cut side, up, in the batter (You can do a grid of nine apricots and eat the tenth apricot half, or you can cut up the tenth half and scatter it across the batter.) Sprinkle with about a third of the streusel mixture. Top with remaining batter, then with remaining streusel mixture.
5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the streusel is browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake emerges batter-free. Cool on a wire rack for at least twenty minutes before serving. Makes about nine large pieces. *Notes:* I like to substitute up to 2/3 cup whole wheat flour for part of the all-purpose flour. Instead of rolled oats, you may use flaked coconut or chopped nuts (almonds would be especially nice with the apricots). Also, if apricots are not handy, plums work very well in this cake.