The Runner-Up recipe for 2004 in the San Francisco Chronicle, adapted by Janet Fletcher from a recipe from pastry chef Sasha Crehan. Try to find Blenheim apricots as they are more fragrant. Peeled, fresh peaches are a good substitute.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch diameter, 2-inch deep round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Scatter the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan, patting it into a thin layer. Arrange the apricot halves cut-side down on the brown sugar.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the almond paste a little at a time, beating until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the orange zest, vanilla and almond extract. On low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing just until blended.
Pour the thick batter over the apricots, spreading it evenly. Bake until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 55 minutes.
Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream if desired.