The fresh apricots I found in the market a while back were still pretty firm, so making a compote with them was the way to go. The cake is a Maida Heatter recipe. I've found that making it in one loaf pan is a mistake. Way too small. Unless you halve the recipe, divide it into two loaf pans and adjust the cooking time. You can also make it in a tube pan.
I often keep one of these loaf cakes in the freezer; if company arrives unexpectedly (or if you just don't want to turn the oven on) there it is, ready to go and you can use any fresh fruit you have on top. But the tart apricots balance the sweet cake perfectly. Add a little whipped cream on top.
Buttermilk Loaf Cake
From Maida Heatter's New Book of Desserts
finely grated rind of 2 or 3 large lemons
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, large
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9x3 inch tube pan, line with paper, butter paper, dust with bread crumbs, or butter a 10 by 5 by 3 inch loaf pan and sprinkle it with bread crumbs. (I use two loaf pans) Shake out excess.Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt,and set aside. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in 3 additions and buttermilk in 2 additions, scraping bowl with spatula, beating only until smooth. Remove from mixer, and stir in the lemon rind. Turn into pan, rotate the pan briskly in opposite directions to level top. Bake 75 minutes until cake tester comes clean. Let cake stand in pan for 5 minutes, invert on rack, and remove paper.
1/2 a vanilla pod ( I used a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 lb fresh apricots, quartered and pitted
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean pod into a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then add pod, sugar, water, apricots, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and cook, uncovered, over moderate heat, stirring frequently and skimming off any foam, until fruit is tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Add lemon juice to taste and discard pod.