An ode to the apricot, part deux : sweet version.
Another day, another apricot inspiration. Similarly to the day when I was in the metro daydreaming about pomegranate molasses and chipotle pepper, one day a few weeks ago I was in my office, in between emails and phone calls, and that little background brain of mine was thinking about the big bag of apricots in the crisper drawer.
In the summer time, I love upside-down cakes. Gooey, sticky, fruity upside-down cakes with buttermilk or yogurt batter flavored with lemon zest and vanilla. Raspberry upside-down cakes, peach upside-down cakes, why not an apricot upside-down cake?
Better yet, what about cupcakes? And what better way to decorate an upside-down apricot cake than with rosemary. But the rosemary would need something to rest upon – frosting, of course.
And there you have it: a handful of summertime bliss.
The batter for this recipe is adapted from a cake I have been making over and over this summer: Candied Fennel-Topped Lemon Cake from Epicurious (try that one, too!) The base for the mascarpone frosting comes from none other than Martha Stewart.
Apricot-Rosemary Upside-Down Cupcakes
Oil for muffin trays
2 ¼ cups (265g) flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
170 grams (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (220 grams) white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon well-shaken buttermilk
10 small apricots, just ripened, cut in half
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 large rosemary sprig, cut in half
8 ounces (225 grams) mascarpone
1/c cup (60g) confectioner’s sugar
Begin by setting the cream to marinate with the rosemary: put the rosemary sprig into a jar or other tight-fitting container with the heavy cream, and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 170C/350F. Lightly oil regular size muffin trays with neutral-tasting vegetable oil (canola, grapeseed, etc.) Put one half apricot, cut side down, in each muffin tin.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor, mix together butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one by one, mixing well after each one, then add lemon zest and vanilla extract.
Add one-third of the flour mixture and pulse until just combined, then do the same with one-third of the buttermilk. Repeat until all flour and buttermilk are mixed in the batter. The texture should be thick and smooth.
Spoon batter into tins over apricots, filling only about ¾ of muffin slot.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, testing cakes with a toothpick or cake tester to ensure doneness.
Allow to cool about 10 minutes on the countertop or a wire rack, then loosen cupcakes with a thin sharp knife and turn over onto a board or plate to cool to room temperature.
Prepare frosting by straining the rosemary cream, then whipping in a food processor or with a metal whisk until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, mix mascarpone with icing sugar until uniform.
Carefully fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Ice cupcakes, and finish with extra needles of rosemary.
Yield: 18-20 regular-sized cupcakes