Apricot Walnut Lavender Cake

I just used my last stash of frozen Blenheim apricots from last year's harvest. But it's okay, because a new season of Blenheim apricots is upon us, and I'll be able to stock up again so I can enjoy my Ultimate Apricot Crostatas throughout the year as well as gift them to friends. And besides, those last few precious apricots went towards a very delicious cause, Yotam Ottolenghi's Apricot Walnut Lavender Cake. So, it's all good!

Apricot Walnut Lavender Cake
Adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Makes one 9" cake

Notes: I didn't have walnut oil or superfine sugar, so I subbed olive oil and regular granulated sugar, respectively. The recipe calls for fresh apricots. I used frozen ones which tasted fine, but it required a much longer bake time (see below).

In a stand mixer bowl, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy:
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp (185g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
2 tbsp walnut oil 
1 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp (220g) superfine sugar
1 1/4 cups (120g) ground almonds (almond meal)

Add in small additions and continue to beat until well incorporated:
4 large eggs, beaten

Fold in:
1 cup (120g) walnuts, freshly blitzed in a food processor to a coarse powder
scant 3/4 cup (90g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp lavender flowers, fresh or dry
1/8 tsp salt

Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Pour in cake batter and level the top. Arrange across the entire top, skin side down and slightly overlapping:
15 apricots (1 1/3 lb/600g), halved and pitted

Bake at 375°F for 70 to 80 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. I ended up going way over 80 minutes most likely because I used frozen apricots which release more juice than fresh ones. If you find the top getting too brown, just lay a piece of aluminum foil over the cake.

While cake is baking, whisk together in a small bowl, adjusting amount of sugar or juice as needed to make it pourable:
6 tbsp (50g) confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

As soon as cake comes out of the oven, drizzle icing on top. Sprinkle on top:
1/2 tsp lavender flowers

Let cake cool before serving.

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