Patricia's Apricot Nut Torte
This cake is deliciously dense and moist. It's a show-stopper when baked in a spring-form pan, removed, and served on a wide platter. Do you have flowers in your garden? A small cluster of impatiens, cosmos or violas look lovely in a small triangle on top of the cake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then butter and flour a spring-form pan (9 inches in diameter).
Mix the flour, the yeast, the fennel and the salt in a bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat the 4 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Beat the mixture for about 3 minutes, or until it is thick and pale yellow. Gradually add the melted butter, then the vanilla.
Stir in the flour, the apricots, and the walnuts. The batter will be very thick.
Check to be sure your beaters are clean and dry. Then beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are able to hold a soft peak. Very gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until the peaks are stiff.
Gently stir 1/3 of the whites into the batter. This will loosen the batter. Carefully fold in the rest of the whites, then transfer the batter to the prepared pan. The layer of batter in the spring-form will be thin.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan on a rack, then release the sides of the spring-form and transfer the cake to a flat platter. Garnish the top of the cake with additional chopped walnuts, if desired.