I have been playing around with rye flour lately. Waffles shared with friends, combinations of pumpkin and rye and some great muffins are a few things I have made. I put all guesses that my recent experimentation with rye flour is a northern winter thing. Rye has a great flavour- a little goes a long way.
I dreampt up this upside down cake after reading in Kim Boyce’s “Good the Grain” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010) that rye is “particularly good with apricots”. I decided to try it out and I can now attest that indeed it is.
This cake is spiced for winter with a good kick of cardamom. I also wanted to add a hint of booze so I reached for the gin. It was the only alcohol that I had in the house, but also I knew it would pair nicely with the cardamom. Add honey to all of that and you have a delicious cake.
Now, I know a lot of people in January are in cleansing routine and cake is contraire to that. I am not much of a January cleanser. If I feel I have eaten a lot of junk over the holidays I will try to eat a bit cleaner in January to regulate my system, but I don’t do anything too radical. Firstly, I find that kind of thing never works for me. Moderation and enjoyment always work best as guiding principles for my health. And secondly I find a typical cleansing diet and I just don’t get along in January. I live in Montreal and most Januarys are in the -30 C range. Juices and smoothies literally freeze on my way to work.
As for this cake, I would actually consider it pretty healthy. Rye flour has a good nutrient profile, apricots are packed full of carotene, cardamom is warming and gin, well, gin is just good for the soul. So, I say for this January, have your cake and eat it too.
Upside Down Honey-Rye Cake with Apricots
I rehydrated dry apricots for this cake, because it is pretty hard for me find fresh apricots this time of the year. Any extras you have from this recipe you can store in the fridge to use in porridges and such. If you are in a time of year where apricots are in season, by all means use fresh ones.
For the fruit:
- 2 cups dried apricots + water for soaking
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup gin
- ¼ cup dried currents (optional)
- 15 cardamom pods (around 1 teaspoon ground)
For the cake batter:
- 1 cup rye flour
- 1 cup spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter + butter for greasing the pan
- ½ cup yogurt
- 3/4 cup honey
- large eggs, at room temperature
Butter for greasing the pan
Instructions:Put the apricots in a medium sized bowl and submerge completely with water. Cover the bowl and allow them to soak for eight hours or overnight.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 ºF/175° C.
- Drain the rehydrated apricots and put 1 cup aside to use later.
- Grease and flour a 8 inch non-fluted bundt pan. Start lining the bottom of the pan with the apricots by splitting them in half. When placing them in the pan, make sure their insides are facing you. Continue until the pan is completely covered.
- Remove the shells of 15 cardamom pods and coarsely grind.
- In a small saucepan add the water, honey and gin for the fruit layer. Mix well, dissolving the honey. Add the ground cardamom and currents, if using. Allow the mixture to simmer on the stove for ten minutes. When done pour over top of the apricots in the bundt pan. Fill in any of the spaces between the apricots with the currents, if using.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl. Remove the shells from the remaining 15 cardamom pods and grind a bit finer than the previous batch. Add to the flour, along with the cinnamon and ginger. Add the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
- Using the same saucepan as before, melt the butter on a low heat and allow to cool a bit. In a blender mix the cup of apricots previously set aside and yogurt. Blend until well puréed. Mix the purée and butter together in a bowl. Add the honey and mix again. Beat the eggs in, one at time. Combine with the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
- Add the batter over top of the apricots. Smooth down with a spatula to make the batter even. Bake the cake in the middle rack of the oven 50-60 minutes until golden and baked all the way through.
- After bringing out of the oven, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Place a plate upside down on the bundt pan. Flip the plate right side up. The cake will fall onto the plate.