24 August 2012

Yay, it's Friday!  Hands-down my favorite day of the week.  My family will be relaxing today, recuperating from a super fun but really busy day yesterday.  My mom and sister brought my nephew and little newborn niece up for the day and we spent the first half of it at the lake.  It was warm and beautiful and the kids wore themselves out playing in the water and digging in the sand.  But before they could get a chance to rest, we whisked them off to the circus!  It was my nephew's first time at the circus and he loved it.  Eva had been to the circus before, but she was only 2 months old, so this was kind of like her first time too.  My girls were totally exhausted by the time we got home last night and went straight to bed. Eva will probably sleep until lunchtime, but Lena, my early riser, was up at 7, which is only about half an hour later than usual for her.

So we will be spending a lazy day at home today.  This coffee cake is the perfect lazy-morning-at-home kind of thing to make.  It uses a boxed pound cake mix, so it's not too complicated to prepare, but it's just fancy enough to make you feel like you're really treating yourself.  It's adapted from a recipe I found at the website of a bed and breakfast, The Gracehill in Tennessee.  I had been searching for a unique coffee cake recipe the last time I made fellowship treats for church and I stumbled across this one.  It's a winner!

Apricot Almond Coffee Cake

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup apricot preserves
1 (16 oz.) package pound cake mix, divided
1 cup sour cream
½ cup milk
2 large eggs
½ tsp almond extract
16 dried apricots, cut into small chunks
½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
¼ tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°.  Coat a 9x13” pan with baking spray.

Mix cream cheese, apricot preserves, and 2 tbsp of cake mix just until blended.  Set aside.  Beat sour cream, milk, eggs, almond extract and remaining cake mix on low, scraping sides of bowl until combined.  Then beat on high 3 more minutes. 

Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish.  Spread over the top all of the cream cheese mixture then pour and spread the remaining batter.  Dot the top with the chunks of apricots.   Sprinkle on the almonds on top.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly. 

Meanwhile, to make glaze, stir together the powdered sugar, milk, and ¼ tsp almond extract.  Once cake has cooled slightly, drizzle glaze all over the top.

Makes 24 servings.

I made a few changes from the Gracehill version.  First, I doubled the filling ingredients.  Good choice because it came out perfectly.  I also had to come up with my own glaze recipe because it wasn't included in the original recipe.  I added a tiny bit of almond extract to the glaze; gives it a lovely flavor.

This coffee cake was a huge hit at church.  Even though it is called a coffee cake, it would also make a lovely summertime dessert for any meal.

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