This traditional cake is generally made at the beginning of summer when apricots are ripe and fresh but it can be made at other times of the year using tinned apricots. It is wonderfully moist and should be served at room temperature.
Serves 6 to 8
170 g caster sugar
230 ml milk
zest of 1 lemon
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sambuca (or other aniseed flavoured liqueur)
1 cup self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
7–8 apricots, cut in half
1/2 slivered almonds
1. Place the sugar, milk and lemon zest into a saucepan over low heat and gradually warm whilst stirring the contents until the sugar dissolves.
2. When you see small bubbles begin to appear on the outer edge of the warmed milk, remove from heat. DO NOT let the milk boil and form a skin.
3. Add the olive oil, vanilla and sambuca to the pot and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and gently add the flour and bicarbonate, mixing together well. Then add the pot liquids and whisk to form a smooth batter.
5. Line a rectangular cake tin or shallow baking tray with baking paper and pour the batter into the tray.
6. Stud the surface with the apricot halves and then sprinkle the surface with the slivered almonds.
7. Place into a pre-heated oven at 180° C and cook for approximately 30 minutes, until golden brown and when inserted with a skewer it can be removed clean.
8. Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a wire rack. It is important to turn the cake out, otherwise it will sweat in the cake tin.
9. Let the cake cool completely and then slice and serve.
It is common to serve this cake with ricotta and a dash of honey but it also works well with cream or ice-cream.