Yogurt Yeast Cake with Apricots, Lavender and a Hint of Lemon

August 8, 2021

When in Poland my favourite fruit to use for this particular particular cake are sour cherries, raspberries and plums. In Italy however, these fruits are not so readily available. If I find them, most of the time I am rather disappointed (except for plums) as they don’t have the same flavours of my childhood.

That is why in this recipe we have beautiful, ripe juicy apricots and lavender, which grows in abundance on our terrace.

The lemon icing brings a hint of freshness but you can of course alway make the traditional one.

For the cake:

  • 500 g of plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
  • 7 g of dry yeast (one sachet)
  • 100 g of caster sugar
  • 1/4 a teaspoon of salt
  • 320 g of white natural yogurt, full fat (at a room temperature)
  • 1 egg plus two egg yolks, slightly beaten 
  • 50 g o butter, at room temperature
  • 10-12 ripe apricots (but not too soft if possible)

For the crumbly topping:

  • 40-50 g of cold butter, cubed
  • 40 g of caster sugar
  • 70-80 g of plain flour

For the icing:

  • juice from about half a lemon
  • a flat teaspoon of fresh lavender (or dry lavender)
  • 100-120 g of icing sugar

Put the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into the bowl of a mixer and stir well all the dry ingredients. 

Pour in the yogurt and start working the dough in the mixer on a lower speed using a flat beater (or a dough hook, they both work well here).

Pour in the egg and egg yolks and carry on with mixing the dough until the ingredients are well combined, which should take about 2 minutes.

Next increase the speed and allow the mixer to work the dough for about 10 minutes. The dough should turn silky smooth and elastic.

Now gradually add the butter. Make sure that every portion (about a teaspoon) of the butter has been fully mixed into the dough before adding more.

Carry on mixing everything for the next 5 minutes. Now the dough should be shiny and even more elastic.

Brush a large bowl with some sunflower oil. Place the cake dough into the bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Be patient here as the process can even take up to 3 hours. I tend to cover the bowl with a blanket to speed up the process.

Grease with a little bit of butter and line with a sheet of baking parchment a baking tray (roughly 25 x 35 cm in size). Now transfer the dough into the prepared baking tray, gently even out the surface, cover again with cling film and leave it to rest for another 40 minutes. It should almost double in volume again. Usually any fruit and the crumbly topping is added at this stage too, but I leave this this step towards the end.

In the meantime prepare the crumble.

Mix the flour with the sugar in a small bowl. Add the cold butter, rub and kneed gently the ingredients with your fingers in order to obtain a crumbly consistency. Don’t work it for too long as the butter will start to soften too much. Leave in a fridge until needed.

When the dough has increased enough cut the apricots lengthways in half and discard the stones.

Arrange neatly the apricot halves by trying to insert them vertically slightly into the dough and press gently.  You could just simply place them on top but I really love having some soft baked fruit trapped in the cake. In case the apricots are not very sweet sprinkle them with some sugar.

Take the crumble out from the fridge and sprinkle it evenly on top.

Bake your cake in the preheated oven to 175 C for about 40 minutes. It should turn deliciously golden in colour but it’s best to check inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake, which should come out clean.

In case the cake is turning dark too quickly in the oven cover it loosely with a sheet of aluminium foil.

Take it out from the oven and leave to cool down a little.

Prepare the icing.

Pour the lemon juice into a small sauce pan, add the lavender and heat up gently.

Take the pan from the heat and stir in the icing sugar making sure there are no lumps. In case the icing is too watery, add more icing sugar.

Decorate your apricot cake by drizzling the lemon-lavender icing all over it. Decorate with some extra fresh lavender and enjoy.