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Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Drunken Apricot

Chef Laurent Gras Recipes

Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Drunken Apricot

Alta Editions

This recipe creates a dense, moist cake with a savory quality from olive oil and honey, enhanced by the flavor of almond and cognac-soaked apricots. The flavors of basil and strawberry in the compote cut through the richness of the cake.
— Laurent Gras

This Provence-inspired Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Drunken Apricot recipe is a preview from chef Laurent Gras's multiple IACP award-winning cookbook, My Provence.

6-8 servings   |   Prep Time: 30 minutes   |   Cooking Time: 20 minutes



For the Apricots

  • ⅓ cup (50 ml) water
  • ½ cup (50 g) sugar
  • ⅓ cup (50 ml) Cognac or brandy
  • 6 dried apricots, about 3 ounces (100 g)

For the Cake

  • Butter and flour for the pan
  • ¾ cup (100 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (45 g) almond flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (5 g) baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of ½ lemon, finely grated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons (100 g) honey, divided
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup (75 ml) whole milk
  • Soaked apricots, diced (from above)
  • Light brown sugar (optional, if not using the glaze)
  • 1 cup (100 g) icing sugar (optional)
  • Juice of ½ lemon, strained, about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (optional)

For the Strawberry Syrup and Compote

  • 1 pound (500 g) fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried
  • ½ cup (100 g) water
  • ¼ cup (50 g) light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (20 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 leaves basil, minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (20 ml) extra-virgin olive oil


For the Apricots

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. When the syrup is clear, turn off the heat. Stir in the Cognac or brandy and add the apricots . Let soak overnight. Remove the apricots from the syrup, pat dry, and dice into small pieces.

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan. In a small mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, and baking powder. Whisk to blend. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, salt, and 4 tablespoons (80 g) of the honey. Beat in the olive oil and the milk. Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture, breaking up any lumps to form a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter the soaked apricot pieces around the batter. If not using the lemon glaze, drizzle the remaining tablespoon of honey over the cake and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges have browned and pulled away from the sides of the pan and the tip of a paring knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan, set upright on a wire rack, and continue cooling to room temperature.
  2. To prepare the glaze, in a bowl combine the icing sugar and lemon juice and stir to form a thin, spreadable paste. You can adjust the consistency with a few drops of water, if necessary. Spoon this mixture on top of the cooled cake and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon to glaze the cake. Allow the glaze to dry at least an hour before serving. The cake is even better left to sit for a day .

For the Strawberry Syrup and Compote

  1. Using a paring knife, remove the stems of the berries. Pick out ⅔ of the nicest berries and set them aside. In a blender, combine the remaining strawberries with the water and a little more than half of the brown sugar and liquefy. Pour into a small saucepan and reduce by half over low heat, about 10 minutes. Strain this syrup and keep warm.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Cut the strawberries in half and place them in the pan, cut side down. Sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar and roast the berries until they wilt, about 5 minutes.

To Assemble the Dish

Place the cake on a serving platter so that you can slice and serve it at the table. Add the basil to the strawberry syrup. Divide the roasted strawberries among four small, individual dishes. Spoon the basil syrup over berries and finish with a few drops of olive oil.

Get this recipe and over 40 other delicious Provence-inspired dishes in Laurent Gras: My Provence, the award-winning online cookbook from renowned chef Laurent Gras, for $9.99.
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