POUND CAKE HOLIDAY
Fresh apricots, though visually stunning, can sometimes be a little lackluster when eaten out of hand. Whether too tart or too mealy, or simply shy on flavor, patience is a stone fruit virtue. There’s a small window in summer, sometime between July and August, when both apricots and nectarines align at the farmers’ market. Drizzling the two with honey before roasting them in the oven creates a vibrant, jam-like fruit topping that holds its shape. You can serve it as is, but its destiny should be simple pound cake.
A while back, before my sister and her crew relocated from the Emerald City to Toronto, jaunts to Seattle were a yearly treat. Attired in my very best stretchy waistband pants, @bkgray66 and I combed the city in search of stellar baked goods. Though the selection was far too vast to cram into a few days, believe me, we tried.
In retrospect, other than Tom Douglas’ coconut cream pie, some of my favorite sweets were generous slices of pound cake paired with a quintessential Seattle coffee. Two standouts come to mind; one was from The Fat Hen Café in Ballard, and the other was from Macrina Bakery in downtown Seattle. Far from flashy, comfortably rustic, the cakes were flavored with plenty of citrus and pleasantly crunchy from a blend of flours.
My day job doesn’t diminish my appetite for sweets, but there are days when I have a hankering for a slice of something other than pie. I’ve baked many versions of those Seattle-inspired cakes, sometimes in a loaf pan, sometimes in a small springform. And when apricots and nectarines sing in unison, despite the heat, it’s well worth turning on the oven. Bake the pound cake on low and the stone fruit on high. After it cools, drape the fruit over a generous slice of cake, add a little whipped cream, and pretend you're on vacation.
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