1.Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 23cm round cake pan, line base with paper, grease paper.
2.Blend sifted soda and cocoa with boiling water until smooth, cool. Cream butter and brown sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy, add egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition. Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in cocoa mixture and sour cream.
3.Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add caster sugar, beat until dissolved. Stir sifted flour into cocoa mixture, then fold in egg white mixture. Spread into prepared pan, bake in moderate oven for about 1 hour. Stand 10 minutes before turning on to wire rack to cool.
4.Sour Cream Filling: Combine apricots and brandy in bowl, stand 15 minutes. Beat cream cheese and sour cream in small bowl with electric mixer until smooth, beat in sifted icing sugar. Stir in apricot mixture.
5.Cut cold cake into 3 layers. Place 1 layer on to serving plate, brush with some of the combined brandy and milk. Spread with half the filling, top with second layer of cake, brush with more brandy mixture, spread with remaining filling. Top with remaining layer of cake, brush with remaining brandy and milk.
6.Decorate cake with cream, piped chocolate and toasted slivered almonds if desired.
You will need a 300g carton of sour cream for this recipe.Note