Buttermilk Apricot Cake
Friends, I have been busy. Busy with freelance deadlines, busy with playdates, busy throwing myself a massive pity party about a running injury. Busy preparing for some spokesperson stuff I was doing for broadcast media, which was outside of my comfort zone and therefore completely consumed me for a week. Want to see me make breakfast on TV? I did it three times this week, twice live. (Insert EEK emoji).
I have always felt a bit panicky about video cameras, and the concept of being live on air was terrifying. Which is how I knew that I had to do this. Whenever I have a feeling of deep unease about doing something, I ask myself, do I have this feeling because it isn’t aligned with my values? Is it a true hunch that this is a bad idea? If the answer is no to both, then I know the urge to run away is just fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of becoming a viral internet phenomenon (“girl sets fire to dress while making granola on TV; girl runs around fiery studio naked with spatula”). Which is how I know it is an opportunity for personal growth.
You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety – Abraham Maslow
I love the chapter on fear in the book I’ve recommended to you in the past, Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, which I’m not going paraphrase well (it’s been months since I read it), but I’ll share what I took away from it:
Fear is always present. It is a part of every new thing, every step outside our comfort zone. The more you resist it or try to make it go away, the stronger and louder and more insistent it becomes. So instead of fighting it, make peace with it. Accept that it will be there, as part of you, on every single adventure. Invite it along for the ride. Let it have a voice, but don’t give it a vote. Allow it to be a passenger, but don’t let it drive.
I was super nervous and lost sleep over the first segment. Then the second and third ones were a breeze in comparison. No fires, no accidental nudity, not even spilled granola. #win. Do you have anything you’d like to do but fear is holding you back?
I made this buttermilk apricot cake for a trip to a friend’s house several weekends ago. It is very tender, with sweet, ripe apricot halves and tangy buttermilk. The splash of almond extract in the batter really sets off the flavours.
I love baking with apricots. They slump into jammy puddles and have the most wonderful smooth texture. Divine.
Before I leave you with the recipe, can we just circle back to my pity party for a sec? I am currently accepting any and all forms of sympathy. Hugs, chocolate, even an “aww, muffin” would go a long way. Thanks. 🙂
- 1 1/2 lbs ripe apricots
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
- 13.5 oz (3 cups spooned and levelled) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9"x2" round cake pans, and line bottoms with a circle of parchment.
- Cut 4 of the apricots into quarters and toss with the brown sugar. Dice remaining apricots. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
- Beat butter with sugar on medium-high speed of standing mixer until very light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes, scraping down sides of mixer bowl once or twice. Beat in eggs one at a time until well incorporated then beat in vanilla and almond extracts.
- With mixer speed on medium-low, beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk. Repeat, ending with final 1/3 of flour mixture, scraping down bowl between additions. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in diced apricots.
- Divide batter between cake pans and smooth the tops. Scatter the reserved apricot quarters and any accumulated juices over the two cakes. Bake in middle of oven for about 40 minutes or until golden and springy when lightly pressed in the centre.