Our weekly shop is now delivered. In exchange for some clicking online, a helpful man lugs our weekly shop up two flights of stairs to our flat and at a time convenient to me. What could be better? I just love it and but it does mean you miss the supermarket-early-warning system. What do I mean? Well, this year I nearly missed Valentine’s Day because I hadn’t seen the display, usually a sea of eye-catching red, and with every card you could want (and maybe a few you wouldn’t!) clearly reminding you. Luckily, this week I happened to wander into my local Sainsburys in time to be reminded that Mother’s Day was coming up fast – gone were the reds of Valentines Day, replaced by pinks, whites and lots of flowers.
Mother’s Day, Mother’s Day – what to do for Mother’s Day? As I walked round the shop picking up items I’d missed off the online shop, ideas for a cake formed in my head. What could be better than a proper homemade cake? I picked up some extra ingredients and headed home.
That night when the flat was quiet, I began. There is something so calming and relaxing about making a cake when that’s all you need to be doing. I creamed the butter and sugar, mixed in the eggs, added the flour and baking powder and then folded in the apricots and pistachios (aren’t they beautiful).
Now here’s a tip. In the baking aisle that day, I had found 7″ cake-tin liners. These aren’t necessary and previously I have lined my cake-tins with baking paper cut to size. But liners make cake making just that bit easier and quicker and so all I had to do now was divide the mixture between the two lined cake tins and put straight into the preheated oven.
When the cakes were baked, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to top with whipped cream or buttercream icing. So I did half and half. With lots of raspberries between the two layers and on top, Dave and enjoyed a tasting. The cake felt full of the promise of spring – it was light and fruity with the gentle pistachio flavour lingering longest in the mouth. In fact, I’d call it a triumph! The only issue was that Dave thought the buttercream icing was best whereas I preferred the whipped cream. Both worked well, it was just that the cream appealed to me because it was less sweet. I have given both as options in the recipe so you can decide depending on how sweet your Mum’s tooth is.
If you are interested in the technique behind making a Victoria Sponge cake, which is what this cake is based on, click here.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Apricot, Raspberry and Pistachio Cake, the Perfect Gift for Mother’s Day
140g/5oz soften butter, extra for greasing the baking tins
140g/5oz caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
140g/5oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
180g/ 6 1/3 tinned apricots, drained weight, quartered
55g/2oz roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
150g/5¼oz soften butter
300g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
Whipped cream as icing
250ml double cream
225g/8oz fresh raspberries
freeze dried raspberry pieces, a small handful, you will find these in the baking aisle
2 x 18cm/7” cake tins
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/355°F/Gas mark 4. Grease and line the two baking tins.
2. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk or a strong arm and a wooden spoon! Beat until the mixture is creamy and then beat for another minute. This gets air into the mix and means your cake will be light.
3. Beat in one egg at a time.
4. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the flour into the butter mixture until it is all combined. Fold in the apricots and pistachio nuts and divide between the two tins.
5. Put in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
6. If you have chosen whipped cream icing, whip the double cream now. You need it firm but still a little floppy. If you prefer buttercream, then beat the butter until it’s very soft in a bowl, sift in the icing sugar and keep beating until they are both combined. Add the milk to loosen the icing a little.
7. The cakes will be baked when they are lightly browned and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in their tins and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
8. Place the bottom cake on a serving plate or dish and smooth on half of your icing. Cover with broken up raspberries so that they lie flattish. Top with the second cake and cover with the remaining icing. Decorate with the rest of the fresh raspberries and the freeze dried raspberry pieces.
9. Present to your Mum.