June 27, 2005

Apricot Nectar Cake: Progress Report

I was pleased with my initial efforts at a citrus-y, lower-fat snack cake that would be good for work lunches, but there were a few problems with the first version. The lemon-juice glaze was delicious, but in an already moist cake it created a sticky, fall-apart texture after one day on the counter or any amount of time in the freezer. I scribbled some notes on the recipe I had developed, and set it aside for the future.

Well, the future is now. I tinkered with the leavening (upping the baking powder and lowering the baking soda), I used actual apricot nectar instead of a Sun-Rype multi-juice, and I switched over to a bundt pan instead of the rectangular pyrex dish I used before.

So far, the changes are a raging success! The cake is tender, light and moist without being sticky or fragile, and the appealing bundt shape makes for attractive slices. It's still under 25 % of the calories from fat - well within the acceptable range for snacking.

Apricot Nectar Cake

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon white sugar
zest of one lemon
225 mls apricot nectar
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 egg whites, beaten
1 teaspoon orange extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a 9" bundt pan with cooking spray or grease lightly.

In a medium mixing bowl, blend the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar. Mix well with a wire whisk, to aerate. Add the lemon zest and whisk again.

In a separate bowl, mix the apple sauce, canola oil, eggs and egg whites, and orange extract. Measure out the apricot nectar in a measuring cup (just a little less than one cup). Add one third of the dry ingredients to the applesauce/egg mixture, beating on low with an electric mixer until just combined. Add half of the nectar, and beat again. Repeat, and finally add the last of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Pour into your prepared pan, and bake for 40 minutes, or until a cake-tester (or toothpick) comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. Remove cake to a rack and allow to cool before slicing.

If you're not planning to freeze the slices, you might want a little decorative icing, made by mixing a little lemon juice into some icing sugar, and drizzled over the cake as it cools.

A little addition of spices to the dry ingredients would probably be very good - nutmeg, cinnamon, or clove would be my picks. It really is quite tasty just by itself.


Molly said...

Dawna, that looks and sounds delicious! I'll bet it would also be lovely, as you suggested, with a teensy bit of nutmeg. Mmm, apricot nectar...

Dawna said...

Next time, I'll definitely add some spices. The recipe is pretty big - makes a lot of cake slices to freeze (or share with friends or co-workers). I'm still tweaking it - I might back down to 200 mls for the nectar next time, as the top (well, bottom, once inverted for presentation) is still getting a little sticky over time.