Chocolate Coffee Cake

Chocolate Coffee Cake

1/2 cup finely ground almonds, divided

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups dried apricots, finely diced

1 cup vegetable shortening

1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, at room temperature

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

5 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons Amaretto liqueur (I substituted 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch pan. (I used a 10-inch springform pan.)

Press 1/4 cup of the ground almonds up the outer edges of the pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, blend together the remaining almonds, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and diced apricots. In a separate bowl, beat shortening, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the Amaretto (or almond extract). Combine the two mixtures, blending until the dry ingredients are just moistened.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. (My cake needed 60 minutes baking time). Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 to 7 minutes before removing from pan onto wire rack to continue cooling. Serve warm.