Caramelised apricot, hazelnut and spelt upside-down cake

from "A Handful of Flour"

It was two years ago in June that we published our cookbook, “A Handful of Flour – Recipes from Shipton Mill”. To celebrate, we’re sharing one of my favourite recipes from the book, which for a celebration, seems only fitting that it should be a cake(!). The spelt flour makes it particularly rich and moist, with lovely fruit and nut flavours from the hazelnut flour and caramelised apricots. The crunch of the dark chocolate chips is the perfect foil for the softness of the spelt and apricots, and is a classic pairing with hazelnut. If you can’t get hold of apricots, peaches also work beautifully.

I use our organic white spelt flour for this recipe. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

Serves 8

You can buy “A Handful of Flour” from our website, here, or from Amazon, here. It’s also available in Waterstones.

Photograph taken by, and copyright of, Jonathan Gregson photography.


  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 80ml water
  • 8-10 ripe apricots, stoned and halved (or 5 peaches)
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125g golden granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 100g white spelt flour
  • 100g finely ground toasted hazelnuts
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp vanilla powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 80g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into smallish chunks
  • 1-2 tbsp milk (optional, to loosen the batter)


Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a 21cm spring-form cake tin with baking parchment. Make sure the disc in the base overlaps with the sides, to prevent the caramel sauce leaking out when it is in the oven.

First, make the topping. Heat the 20g of butter for the apricots in a pan over a medium heat, until sizzling. Add the sugar. Gradually add the water, stirring occasionally, and cook for 4 minutes or so, until it starts to caramelise and turn into a sauce. You don’t want to cook it down to the point where it turns to thick caramel however, it should be pourable. Pour the caramel sauce into the prepared cake tin, and place the apricots on top, with the cut side facing down onto the liquid. Set to one side.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric hand whisk until it is pale and creamy. Slowly add the eggs, beating all the time. Sift the spelt flour into the butter and sugar mix, add the hazelnut flour, baking powder, vanilla powder and salt, and whisk until combined. Gradually add the buttermilk, continuing to whisk. Mix through the chocolate chips using a spoon so that they are spread evenly. If you need to loosen the cake batter a little, add a dash of milk. Pour the cake mixture on top of the apricots and spread it with a spatula to create a flat top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked through. Because of the caramel sauce and the apricots at the base of the cake, plus the moisture from the nuts, a skewer may not come out completely clean when inserted. Instead, check for any uncooked cake batter on the skewer; if there is, the cake will need longer in the oven.

Leave it to cook and set in the tin for 15 minutes or so, before flipping the cake upside-down on to your serving plate. Release the tin, and remove the lining. The caramel sauce will be liquid and still quite hot, so do this carefully. Serve with cream or ice cream, or simply on its own. This cake is best eaten the day it is made due to its high moisture content. You can store it in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in cling film for up to 2 days if there are any leftovers.