A few days after I mentioned the book Babycakes, a reader sent an email recommending another recipe — Aunt Irene’s Lemon Apricot Cake. Her review was so positive that I picked up a can of apricot nectar the very same day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to making the cake it until months later. It was worth the wait!
Small Changes to Aunt Irene’s Lemon Apricot Cake
As usual, I made some modifications, thus my cake is different than the one in the book. The original version is made in a Bundt pan, but I don’t have enough people here to eat a full size cake, so I halved the recipe and baked it in a loaf pan.
One thing you should know before baking (not quite) Aunt Irene’s Lemon Apricot Loaf is that it requires attention to detail. For instance, the leavening power comes from eggs and air, so you really have to whip the butter and sugar and eggs. Also, make sure to use a loaf pan that has at least 6 cups capacity. I first made the cake in a 1 pound (8×4 inch loaf pan with about a 4 cup capacity) and it was too small. A slightly larger (8 ½ by 4 ½ inch with around 6 cup capacity) loaf pan was just right.
Velvety Texture and Interesting Flavor
The cake isn’t tall and stately, but rather velvety and dense like a frozen pound cake. I really don’t care for lemon extract, but I do love the flavor of Boyajian lemon oil, so I used that. Use whatever you like. The lemon combined with the apricot juice reminds me of the flavor of lemon cake mix or lemon pudding. That being said, I didn’t care much for the glaze. It was okay, but next time I’ll just go with a a straight lemon glaze of lemon juice and powdered sugar.
Lemon Apricot Loaf
- 12 tablespoons 6 oz unsalted butter at cool room temperature
- 1 1/3 cup ultra fine sugar or regular granulated
- 2 extra large eggs
- 1 extra large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon lemon oil Boyajian or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups SIFTED cake flour sift and then measure about 5.4 oz by weight total
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apricot nectar
- 1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons of apricot nectar or lemon juice I recommend lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Thoroughly grease an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch with at least 6 cup capacity loaf pan and line with a strip of parchment paper. Dust with flour.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attached, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating, scraping bowl often, for about 3 minutes.
- Add one egg and beat on medium-low just until incorporated, then increase mixer speed and beat for 30 seconds. Repeat with second egg and egg yolk, starting at medium-low until egg is incorporated, and then mixing on high. When all eggs are incorporated, let the mixer go for about 3 minutes, stopping once to scrape the side of the bowl. The goal is a light whipped mixture. Beat in the lemon oil and salt.
- Remove bowl from mixer stand, and with a heavy silicone scraper, stir in the flour alternately with the apricot nectar until batter is blended. Beat by hand for about 40 strokes. Scrape it into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake cake for about 60 to 65 minutes or until it appears set and skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then loosen any stuck edges with a knife. Let cool for 40 minutes in the pan set on a rack.
- When completely cool, lift from the pan, wrap tightly and freeze or serve immediately. I found that in both cases, this cake was even better after being frozen and thawed.
Sure! I don’t know exactly how much you’d need, but if I were using fresh lemon I’d start with about a tablespoon.
Can you use fresh lemon juice in lieu of the lemon oil for this cake.
Yum this looks great! I loved Nance’s review. What a lucky FIL! I was thinking the same thing about the apricot jam glaze too. The extract sounds great too!
I wonder if you could make a glaze with apricot jam to boost the apricot flavor?
I love lemon so I’m sure I would love it as you made it. My MIL loves apricot so that is worth thinking about.
Nance, the apricot flavor is subtle and the lemon flavor is more dominant. If you are a real lemon lover, I recommend ordering some Boyajian lemon oil. It’s good stuff! It tastes better than extract. You could also boost the flavor by adding more lemon zest of course, but it sounds like your husband wants more apricot. Maybe you could buy some canned apricots in syrup and brush the syrup over the top?
Anyhow, it sounds like your husband wants more apricot flavor. Chunks of apricot or apricot puree would ruin the texture, so maybe in the future you could find some apricot extract or flavoring? I have never used this site, but I did a quick Google search and there is such thing as apricot extract. You could really boost the flavor with that! https://www.olivenation.com/apricot-extract.html
Every couple of months I have to go on a cooking and baking binge to fill my FIL’s freezer, as he is opposed to Meal on Wheels and what he buys if I don’t cook it is CANNED, Cheap, high in sodium etc etc….So this peaked my tweeter as he loves apricots. I try not to bake things in full size pans etc as he would eat the whole thing rather then PORTION control, so I used my mini loaf pan. Figured it was safe as they are 1 cup each but alas I had extra. They were rising nicely when my husband walked in the door and slammed it shut and they dropped 8(. That said they were still a decent texture. Tried the little leftover and I couldn’t taste any apricot, for me that good cuz its not a fav but even my husband said why did you send me to the store if I can’t even taste it. Any idea how to boost the flavor??
Great! You could probably teach me a thing or two.
I always mention the sifting whenever I see a recipe that calls for “sifted flour” because sifted flour weighs less than unsifted and it makes a difference. Then you have a lot of recipes where it says to sift flour, but it’s really not necessary. I kind of enjoy sifting ;).
Thanks , I usually do the sifting if required – 50 yrs of baking has taught me well to follow directions
You’d double it and use 5 eggs. Also, make sure to sift the cake flour before measuring. I think a lot of people skip that step, but it makes a difference if you are using volume measurements rather than weights.
How would you make it if you wanted to do the bunt cake size? Not sure if you would double it since you halved it?