It’s National Baking Week! Having dumbly watched National Chocolate Week and National Cupcake Week whizz by without making a thing, I figured it was time to get off my arse and show some, er, British home cook spirit. I have a nascent obsession with tamarind and have been fantasising lately about incorporating tamarind into baking. This cake shows WHY MY HUNCH WAS RIGHT. The tamarind gives the cake a complicated, tangy depth that is not citrusy. The flavour works really well with the sweet apricots and crunchy semolina. Tamarind also gives the cake an unusual colour, almost like gingerbread. The amount of sugar may seem high, but it’s necessary to counter the intense tanginess of the tamarind. Serve this cake with tea or for dessert with crème fraiche.
1 cup plain flour, sifted
¾ cup semolina
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
200 grams (about half a pound) of softened unsalted butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup tamarind concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla
200 grams (about half a pound) of dried apricots, finely chopped. I used “soft apricots.” If you’re using chewy dried apricots, I’d recommend soaking them for 15 minutes in hot water before using them in this recipe.
Icing sugar (powdered sugar) for dusting
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Butter and flour a springform cake pan. Combine the flour, semolina, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Beat together the butter and the sugars in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer or using a handheld mixer until light, fluffy, and creamy. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and the tamarind concentrate. You should have a creamy pale brown mixture. Next, fold in your flours until just incorporated, and then add the chopped apricots. Your batter will be slightly thicker than most cake batters.
Turn into batter into prepared cake pan and bake 45-50 minutes, or until top is golden brown and center feels firm and springy. Put on wire rack to cool for ten minutes, then carefully remove from springform pan and cool completely. When cool, dust the top with icing sugar. This cake is best eaten the day after you’ve baked it, but don’t hate yourself if you can’t resist trying it the first day. (I couldn’t.)
Makes 10-12 servings.