Apricot Coffee Cake


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Appears in

Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague


By Rick Rodgers

Published 2002

  • About

This is one of the most popular of all coffeehouse treats, and almost every baker has the recipe in his or her head. (The proportions are 200 grams each of flour, sugar, and butter, but these don’t translate as easily in the American volume method of measuring.) This version comes from my friend Ger da Hofer, who related it by heart. Don’t be put off by the use of canned fruit, which is consistently flavorful and sometimes preferable to the bland fresh fruit we get too often these days, but you can use fresh fruit if you are sure it is at its peak of flavor. If using fresh apricots, sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons additional sugar before baking.


  • 14 tablespoons ( sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • One 15¾-ounce can apricots, well drained Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Lightly butter an 11½ X 8-inch glass baking dish.
  2. Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (don’t be concerned if the mixture looks slightly curdled). Beat in the vanilla. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and stir into the batter, then stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  3. Spread evenly in the pan. Arrange the apricots over the batter, cutting them into halves or quarters if necessary to give the cake a uniform appearance. (There are often apricots of different sizes in the same can.) The apricots may sink. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before serving.
  4. To serve, sift confectioners’ sugar over the cake and cut into squares.

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