At what age is it acceptable to forget how old you are? Is 27 too young? Because folks… it has already begun.
Not 3 days after my birthday I was asked how old I was, and I blurted out “28!” My husband looked at me with his typical “you’ve got to be kidding me” look, which he has truly MASTERED, and said “Umm… No (insert look)… You’re 27.”
You’ll have to forgive me. Numbers are not my friend (even though I’m good at math… strange? Yes). Or is it my memory that isn’t my friend? I don’t know… I can’t remember! Ha! See what I did there?
At least I haven’t lost my maybe-only-I’m-appreciating-this humor. Another thing I haven’t lost?
Friends. Really, really great friends.
Never in my life would I consider myself a person who would be on the receiving end of a surprise birthday party. Never. But sure enough, this year I was. Like I said: Great Friends.
Funny part? I was pleasantly surprised that my friend had decorated her apartment with banners and balloons only to be bombarded with “SURPRISE!!!” seconds later. Now THAT was a surprise.
That night I felt so incredibly blessed; I felt so incredibly loved. For all of you involved, Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you.
That night, we ate this cake. It made the night even sweeter. One shouldn’t brag about their own baked goods, but this was one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Perfect for summer. Perfect to share with really, really great friends.
Rosemary Apricot Layer Cake
2 lbs. apricots, quartered
1. In a wide saucepan on medium to medium-low heat, add quartered apricots and just enough water to skim the bottom of the pan.
2. Slowly cook down the apricots until they begin to fall apart, about 10-20 minutes.
3. Add the strained apricots to the canister of a blender. Properly vented, blend until smooth.
4. Let cool.
adapted from HomeBakedOnline
1 ½ cups apricot puree
1 cup sugar
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons butter; room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
1. In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, add puree, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter. Whisk until sugar dissolves.
2. Very slowly while whisking, add a quarter cup of the hot mixture into the eggs. You want to slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs so they do not cook.
3. Add the egg/puree mixture back into the bowl over simmering water and cook until it coats the back of a spoon, 10-15 minutes.
Rosemary Cake Layers (yields three 8-inch layers)
adapted from Sweetapolita
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter; at room temperature
2 2/3 cups (540 g) granulated sugar
9 egg whites, at room temperature
4 ½ cups (630 g) GF all-purpose flour (I used Jeanne’s, see Gluten-Free tab)
2 tablespoons (22 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
2 cups buttermilk (I made my own lactose-free version: in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, add soy milk until it reaches the 2 cup mark. Let set for 10 minutes)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely diced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter cake pans and line with parchment rounds.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until lighter in color, 3 to 5 minute. Lower the speed and gradually add the egg whites, mix until fully incorporated.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, diced rosemary, and salt into a medium bowl. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Smooth the tops and baked for about 30-35 minutes, rotating once after 20 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Cool in pans for 20 minutes before removing.
Whipped Apricot Frosting
adapted from Sweetapolita
3 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar + ½ cup more if needed
1 tablespoon milk (I used soy)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
¼ cup apricot puree
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. Butter will become very pale and creamy.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except puree, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy.
3. Add apricot puree and mix until incorporated. Add extra sugar if needed.
Build the cake:
1. Place a cake layer face-up on a cake plate or cake round.
2. Fill a piping bag with a small amount of whipped frosting, pipe around the inside edge of the cake. This will be a barrier for the curd.
3. Pour about ½ cup of curd on top of the cake layer and spread evenly. If needed added more curd, but be careful not to add too much.
4. Carefully add the second layer and repeat the piping and curd steps.
5. Add the final layer, and add 3 wooden dowels (I used popsicle sticks) to prevent the cake layers from shifting.
6. Place a generous scoop if frosting on top, spreading evenly with an offset palette knife, working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until set.
7. Apply final layer of frosting, and decorate as desired.