Updated: Nov 14, 2020
This is a wonderfully nostalgic cake from my childhood - known in our family as ‘Czechoslovakian Cake’, the recipe for which was given to mother by a friend called Marie Lee from Switzerland (!) and which is based entirely on the weight of whatever eggs you’re using. I think it is loosely based on a Czech bábovka, which isn't usually fruited. This version is soft and velvety, lemony and beautifully dotted with apricots and walnuts. Perfect for a morning tea at any time of the year. Every bite makes me think of my mum with an apron on and a long plait in her hair.
You need: A bundt/kugelhopf/ring tin (the one I used is about 23cm, which I borrowed from a local school mum JUST for this cake!)
butter for greasing
225g butter, slightly softened
225g caster sugar
zest and juice of 2 lemons
a pinch of salt
4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
225g self-raising flour (preferably extra-fine 'sponge' flour)
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chopped walnuts (make sure they're quite fresh!)
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan... I actually only ever use fan) and grease the tin very well with some butter.
Beat the main measure of butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the salt, lemon rind and juice and continue to beat well until it's back to fluffy again (this step always seemed counterintuitive to me... but it seems to be the key to the final texture). Add the eggs one-by-one, beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour in to a separate bowl. Add half the flour to the creamed mixture and mix well (I just continue to use the beaters in this case). Add the apricots and walnuts to the rest of the flour and coat them well. This prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cake (or the top, in these tins..). Mix the coated nuts and fruit in to the main mixture and pour in to a well-greased tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or an hour if you're not using a ring tin. The cake should be ready when it springs back when touched. Leave to cool in the tin if you can bear it - this will ensure a nice, well-defined shape (I took the pictured cake out far too early due to overexcitement, but you get the gist). Dust with icing sugar using a sieve or tea strainer et voilà.
Cooling the cake completely before turning out (about 1hr) will ensure a beautiful defined shape. It also means none gets stuck in the tin - as long as it's well-greased!