apricot and cream cheese yeasted cake


You know the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee? The same might hold true for this cake. I had a batch of Sarah Keiffer's gooey cinnamon roll dough in my freezer. I had apricots in the fridge which I'd planned on freezing but then wondered if I could combine the 2 things into a single item. 


I checked through my cookbooks and found 2 yeasted apricot recipes that appealled.The first was Julia Busuttil Nishimura's apricot yeasted cake whilst the second was Claire Saffitz's recipe for apricot and cream brioche.

I didn't have any creme fraiche but I had cream cheese in my fridge so I decided to go down the Claire Saffitz route. I used the cream cheese filling from an apple galette recipe I made a few years ago and rather than honey syrup, I made a batch of vanilla syrup. 

Would all the disparate elements fall in line to make a delicious dish I asked myself? There was only one way to find out. I defrosted the dough, mixed the filling, sliced the apricots and gave it a whirl.

Ideally you'll need to start the recipe the day before serving and the cake is best served the day its made. Here’s the recipe for you which makes a 23cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Apricot Cream Cheese Yeasted Cake
2 large eggs at room temperature
90 mls milk, lukewarm
30 mls honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (300g) plain flour 
1 tsp yeast
½ tsp salt
75g room temperature unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 

Vanilla Syrup
40g sugar
40mls water
½ tsp vanilla bean paste or ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Cream Cheese Filling
125g cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ tbs caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten

12 apricots, halved pitted then quartered
¼ cup caster sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind

Grease a large bowl. Combine the eggs, milk, honey and vanilla in a large liquid measuring cup.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, yeast, and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough, until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, 1 minute. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. The dough will be very sticky and you will need a spatula to scrape the dough into the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the bowl and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Vanilla Syrup
Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture has slightly thickened. Take off the heat and stir through the vanilla bean paste or vanilla pod and seeds. Allow to cool completely before using.

Flour a work surface and knead the dough 10 to 12 times to activate the gluten. Shape the dough into a ball, cover the top lightly with flour, and cover with a tea towel and let come to room temperature.

Grease a 23cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 26cm circle. (Do not flour top of dough.) Lift the dough and place it over the base of the springform tin, making sure the dough is even and completely covers bottom of the tin. Fold and press the outside edges in a diagonal pattern to create a crimped edge then clip the sides to the base of the tin. Cover and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes or until puffy.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. In a small bowl mix the cream cheese with the sugar, the vanilla and a tablespoon or two of the beaten egg to form a smooth paste, then spread in a thin layer over the dough. Arrange the apricot slices decoratively over the cream cheese.

In a small bowl combine the sugar with the lemon rind. Sprinkle most of the sugar mix over the apricots, leaving a little to sprinkle over the edge of the pastry. Brush the edges of folded over dough with the remaining beaten egg before sprinkling with the sugar mix. 

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the apricots are soft and the dough is risen and golden. Once the tart comes out of the oven, gently brush the vanilla syrup over the whole tart, repeating every 10 minutes until all the syrup has been absorbed. 
The tart is best served on the day it’s made but can be refreshed in the microwave for 10 seconds the next day.

My neighbour really enjoyed my 'experiment' and thought the cake was a bit panettone like.
The topping for the cake is really delicious but I thought there was a bit too much dough for the filling. Next time I'd make it using a pizza tray adding perhaps 50% more filling for a better balance. Otherwise the cream cheese and apricot combination would make a killer gallete filling and I'm hoping I get the chance to make one before the apricot season has ended.
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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