Besides its mellow flavor, honey keeps this cake fresh and moist for several days. The colors of the apricots and pistachios give it additional appeal.
½ pound unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
plus more for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ pound dried apricots (use unsulfured Turkish apricots,
available at Russo’s in Watertown)
1½ cups honey
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup unsalted pistachios (or other nuts), lightly toasted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a loaf pan, about 5 by 9 by 2½ inches, tapping out excess flour.
Cut the apricots into small dice. Sift and measure the flour. Take some of the flour to toss with the diced apricots. Sift the baking powder into the rest of the flour.
Put the butter in a large bowl and cream it with a large spoon to lighten the texture. Stir in the honey to combine
it well. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time, then the lemon zest and juice. Gradually stir all the flour into the batter
with the apricots and nuts.
In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they make soft peaks. Fold one large spoonful of egg
whites into the batter to loosen it, then the rest until no streaks of whites remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 and bake until the cake turns golden and tests done,
about 45 minutes more. Let the cake cool on a rack before turning it out. Cut across into thin slices to serve on its own or with fresh fruit and maybe a spoonful of cream.
Makes about 10 servings.