apricot walnut and lavender cake


It's not quite apricot season in Sydney but I had the foresight to stash away some apricot halves in the freezer. Freezer space is at a premium at the moment, so the time had come to use them. When I weighed the apricots I had just the right amount to make a small Ottolenghi apricot walnut and lavender cake. 

The recipe can be found in Plenty More and during the Northern Hemisphere summer, many photos of the cake appeared on Instagram. 

I changed the recipe just a little. I've made many an apricot cake before and these were very large apricots so I knew the apricots would sink into the cake batter. There isn't much flour in the recipe so instead of plain flour I actually used some self raising flour. I figured the small amount of rising agent would barely make a difference and I was a bit short on plain flour.
I used some of the sugar to sprinkle over the apricot halves as they can be very tart. The recipe calls for fresh or dried lavender as an ingredient and with none in the garden I had to sneak a few flowers from the council flower box. Rather than using the flowers in the cake batter I chose to use them for decoration.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. If you'd like to make a larger cake please refer to the original Ottolenghi recipe. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C. 

Apricot walnut and lavender cake
90g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
1 tbs walnut or olive oil
110g caster sugar, reserve 1 tbs to sprinkle over the apricots
60g almond meal
2 large eggs, beaten
60g ground walnuts
45g plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
pinch salt
375g apricots, halved and pitted

30g icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp lemon juice

To decorate 
few lavender flowers, fresh or dry

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, conventional. Grease then line the base and sides of a 17cm cake pan with baking paper.

Put the butter, oil, sugar and almond meal in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs bit by bit, making sure each addition is well incorporated before beginning the next, then fold in the walnuts, flour, vanilla, lemon zest and salt. 

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Arrange the apricot halves skin side down and slightly overlapping all over the top of the cake, taking them right to the edge. Sprinkle with the reserved sugar.

Bake for 70-80 minutes in the preheated oven – cover with foil if the top starts to brown too much; also, note that when you insert a skewer to test if the cake is done, it will come out a little sticky because of all the moisture in the apricots.

While the cake is baking, whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a light, pourable icing (adjust the amount of sugar or juice slightly, to suit your taste).

As soon as the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and brush the icing all over the top. Sprinkle over the lavender flowers and set aside to cool completely before slicing.

This smelt so good when it came out of the oven and the cake received a thumbs up from my neighbours, always a good sign. I've been nibbling away at my piece which I stored in the fridge and it's still delicious a week after baking. I think plums would work really well in this cake.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,




  1. Hello,
    I love apricots in cakes but dislike walnuts. Can I substitute almond meal for the walnuts?
    How do you think it will go taste-wise?
    Thank you, Angela

  2. Hi Angela, I make an apricot cake with almond meal quite often and it tastes lovely however for this cake the walnuts give a flavour and texture that finely ground almond meal can't provide. If you'd like to make something close to this recipe I'd be inclined to use ground pecans if that's a nut you like or else grind up some natural almonds instead.

  3. Do you have the recipe for the other apricot and almond cake on your website? I think i would like to have a go baking that. I know I stereotype walnuts and pecans as being best in a carrot cake, so that is probably why I am not keen on them with apricots.
    Thanks again for your extensive baking knowledge, and being so adventurous in changing things up based on ingredients at hand.
    Regards Angela

    1. Hi Angela, there is a search button at the top of the blog on the far right hand side. If you type apricot and almond cake into that and hit enter it will appear as the second recipe. I published the recipe in January 2018. Good luck!


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