Friday, July 01, 2022


When I think of layer cakes, I think of thin cake layers, abundant filling, and a billowy layer of whipped cream as the decoration. And truly, I will always love the thinnest possible cake layers and the way they almost melt together with the filling.
To me, the combination of chocolate, apricots, especially apricot jam, and cinnamon will forever be one of the most comforting, inviting, and beloved dessert combinations. Soft chocolate cake layers, abundantly sandwiched with fresh apricot jam, additionally glazed in dark chocolate; just perfect.
This is also one of the quickest and simplest cakes I can think of, and it is really a good recipe for beginner bakers. And it needs nothing more than a tiny dessert fork and a cup of coffee or tea.

For the soft chocolate layers
120 grams plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking soda
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
small pinch of salt
120 grams light brown sugar
50 grams apricot filling
25 millilitres vegetable oil
150 millilitres warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the apricot filling
350 grams ripe apricots
80 grams light brown sugar
15 millilitres fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the chocolate glaze
100 grams cooking chocolate (60% cocoa solids)
20 millilitres vegetable oil

Start by making the apricot sauce, as it requires time to cool down, and it is used in the cake layers. Place the fruit in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the sugar and lemon juice, and mix lightly. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and let it come to a light boil. Once it starts boiling, mash it into a purée, either using a fruit masher or an immersion blender. Add in the vanilla and let it bubble for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked down to about half of the initial volume. Remove from the heat, and let it cool down to room temperature.
To make the soft chocolate cake layers, sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl. Whisk very well, add in the salt and sugar, whisk, and set aside. Take 50 grams of the cooked apricot sauce and place it into a medium bowl, add in the oil, and whisk them together very well. Once blended, add in the water and the vanilla, and mix again. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and whisk until only combined.
Take a small square baking pan (20x20 cm), and line it with baking parchment. Pour in the batter, tap it lightly on the counter, and level it as much as possible. Bake the cake in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cake will be very soft, so let it cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then remove it to a rack, and let it cool to room temperature.
Gently and evenly, divide the cooled cake into three thin layers. Whisk the fruit filling nicely, so it loosens up. Place the first cake layer onto the cake platter, or back into the baking pan, and spread half of the remaining fruit filling on top. Place the next cake layer, and repeat the stacking once again. Place the final layer on top, and refrigerate the cake for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Once the cake is chilled and ready, take it out of the refrigerator, and slice it into twelve servings. Chop the chocolate finely, and place it into a medium saucepan. Add in the vegetable oil, and melt it very slowly over low heat. Whisk very well, so the oil does not show up once it sets. Glaze each serving of the cake, and serve immediately. Yields 12 servings.