This quick-to-make cake combines the goodness of oats and cornmeal with plump apricots, brown sugar and the alluring sharpness of ground ginger. There's no butter here: the shortening is mild-flavoured, heart-protective olive oil.
¾ cup (100g) dried apricot halves
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
½ cup (70g) oat flour
½ cup (70g) plain flour
¼ cup (30g) cornmeal
⅓ cup (75g) firmly packed soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites
½ cup (125ml) buttermilk
2 tbsp extra-light olive oil
1½ tsp icing sugar
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Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray a 20cm round non-stick cake tin with cooking spray. Combine the apricot halves and boiling water and let stand for about 15 minutes until softened. Drain the apricots and arrange in the bottom of the tin.
Meanwhile, combine the oat flour, plain flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together the whole egg, egg whites, buttermilk and olive oil. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour the egg mixture into the well, stirring just until moistened.
Pour the batter over the apricots in the cake tin, then smooth the top. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar. Cut into eight slices before serving.
Some more ideas…
You can buy oat flour in health-food stores, some supermarkets and over the Internet from companies that specialise in baking ingredients. However, it's simple to make oat flour at home: buy any type of rolled oats and process in a food processor to the texture of wholemeal flour.
Dried apricots are rich in betacarotene, an anti-oxidant found in orange-coloured foods that helps fight the build-up of arterial plaque.