As I sit here in my almost empty apartment, on my second to last night here, I can’t help but think of endings. In all sorts and sizes. Goodbyes, so longs, till next time. It’s common to think of endings as sad but this ending, my ending in this apartment, is a happy one. Because it means better things are happening and that next step must be better than the one I’m currently on. I wouldn’t say I’m sad to say goodbye to this place; more like I’m feeling a little bittersweet. I had great plans for this apartment. I moved in with a good friend, it had a deliciously large kitchen and it was my first place in New York that actually felt like home. But then things fell apart. My once friend is no long that. The apartment is definitely falling apart and this neighborhood is not the best. So while I’m sad to see it go, I’m ready to be out of here.
When I made this simple apricot jam cake, I was dealing with another ending. The holidays had winded down, I was getting packed to head back to New York and this cake nestled its way into my heart. Saying goodbye to California is always the hardest. That drive to the airport, the hugs with my family and the unavoidable tears make this ending a sad one. But once the plane takes off and I’m 1 mile down, 3000 left to go, my heart starts to soar. Because for the time being, New York has my heart.
That is, until it is time to say goodbye to this fair city. In which case, I will absolutely need more cake.
This cake is unfussy, cozy and full of flavor. Thanks to the orange juice and zest, the cake is buttery soft with pockets of tang. I used leftover apricot jam and really enjoy the little bits of orange the jam provided. The cake stayed moist for 4 days, practically unheard of! In fact, I’d say the cake was actually better on the 4th day, to be honest. I can’t wait to make another rendition of this cake, but in my new apartment, in a new kitchen, in a new neighborhood.
Apricot Jam Cake
Adapted from: Always with Butter
Yields: 10 servings
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mixing at medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.Then add vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest and blend.
Slowly, add the dry flour mixture to the wet mixture, mixing only until just combined. Add 1/2 cup of apricot jam into the batter and mix. You want the jam to mix in with the batter but you still want to see the ribbons of jam in the batter.
Pour batter into the pan. Dollop and swirl the remaining 1/4 cup of jam into the batter. Smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove cake from the oven and let cool 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a wire rack set over a tray, and spoon lemon syrup over cakes. Let cake cool completely. Serve at room temperature.