Cherry and Almond Cake

This cherry and almond cake is another one from my  River Cottage Handbook No 8 – Cakes. The original recipe had a streusel topping but I didn’t have enough ground almonds so just sprinkled flaked almonds over the top which happened to visually look better  than the original recipe as the cherries aren’t hidden. I also didn’t have fresh cherries but had a jar of morello cherries loitering at the back of the cupboard so drained and utilised these instead. Despite the cupboard raiding restraints and alterations it was a lovely moist cake and these are two of my favourite flavours. You could also use plums instead of cherries.

I have finally found some reasonably priced tile samples so should have some new background surfaces coming onto the blog as I play with different tiles.This is my faux marble one which isn’t bad but could do with a bit more veining maybe.

Cherry and almond cake

Cherry and Almond Cake

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 20 minutes, Cooking time 50 minutes
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125g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
75g self-raising white or wholemeal flour
75g ground almonds (ready-ground or whizzed in a food processor)
1 tsp almond extract (optional but lovely if you like that extra almondy, frangipane taste)
300g fresh cherries, stoned and halved

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Start by base lining and greasing a 20cm/8″ spring form cake tin.

For the cake, in a mixing bowl, using either a wooden spoon or hand-held electric whisk, beat the butter to a cream. Add the caster sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating 1 tbsp of the flour with each, and beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next. Stir in the ground almonds and almond extract, if using. Sift in the remaining flour and fold in gently, using a large metal spoon.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing it out evenly and gently with the back of the spoon. Lay the cherries over the top of the mixture. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the cherries and then scatter the slivered almonds all over the top.

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave for 10 minutes before releasing the tin and moving the cake to a wire rack to cool. This cake is delicious warm or cold, with custard (if serving warm) or clotted cream or Greek yoghurt. It will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight tin.

Cherry and almond cake

Fruit Tartlets

Apologies for not being around as often as I’d like. These fruit tartlets taken from the July issue of Waitrose Food magazine were made and shot some weeks ago but life seems so easily to get in the way of blogging these days. My weekends are peppered with DIY  and littered with chores so the baking and shooting doesn’t always happen when I’d like it to. These tarts were delicious even if they did take me most of the day to make.

Waitrose fruit tartlets Continue reading

Courgette, Ricotta and Mint Parcels

I had a small glut of home grown courgettes recently so happened upon this Georgina Fuggle recipe for courgette, ricotta & mint parcels when googling recipes to use up vegetables. They were so quick and easy to make for my barbecue at the weekend they may well replace my standard quiche as a vegetarian side. The flavours were quite mild but nice and refreshing with the hint of mint. Hopefully my dozens of green tomatoes will ripen soon and I will be bringing you tomato recipes then!

courgette ricotta & mint parcels Continue reading

Vanilla Celebration Cake

The last weekend of July marked my Granma’s 80th birthday so a few weeks ago I set about making a gardening themed cake that could hopefully withstand travelling 310 miles to Cornwall in two trains, a plane and a car. I hadn’t intended to blog this birthday cake but took some pictures before it made its epic journey just in case and I do get asked for celebration cake recipes so here is the BBC Good Food recipe I always use. I have a increased the quantities by 1/5 below to make a slightly deeper cake as I was concerned about the number of guests increasing once I’d bought the cake board and box. This 8″ cake fed 28 with party sized slices cut in a controversial grid pattern.

I haven’t gone into great detail with the sugar craft work as I’m not an expert and the recipe is long enough already! Tutorials on splitting cakes, crumb coating, applying sugar paste and making decorations can all be found on Youtube or google which I where I learnt everything I know. The only thing I would say is never store a sugar paste covered cake in an airtight container or in the fridge. It will sweat and no one wants a sweaty cake no matter how pretty it looks.

vanilla celebration cake Continue reading

Rum Babas

Rum babas are a bit of a labour of love but so worth it. A common supermarket dessert of the 80’s they have disappeared seemingly without trace these days so I had to start making them. This Phil Vickery recipe is no longer available online but it has given me failsafe babas for 6 or more years now and the splashed and stained print out is getting harder to read so I thought I’d better immortalise the recipe now.

Essentially rum babas are a sweetened bread dough bathed in a rum syrup until swollen and heavy. You can top them with plain or sweetened cream and I opted for juicy Kentish cherries over glace ones. I make the recipe below and freeze most of them before their rum bath then defrost them when required and make up the rum syrup and soak overnight ahead of the meal.

rum babas phil vickery Continue reading

Bacon and Leek Filo Tart

Last weekend I went to Faversham Night Market held just after the summer solstice and was inspired by all the wonderful tarts and savouries on sale. The following day I set about trying to make a healthier tart so made a few tweaks to cut calories from this googled recipe for Cheesy leek tart. I skipped the cream and used some creme fraiche left over from last weeks almond cake with milk and cut down the cheese quota by a third. 

The resulting tart was delicious even if I do say so myself and went rather well with a few jersey royals and salad. 

Bacon and leek filo tart Continue reading

Toasted Almond Madeira Cake

After the disaster that befell the UK on Friday, there was nothing else to do but bake. I had been meaning to try out this Dan Lepard recipe for toasted almond madeira cake for a while and the end of last week seemed like the right time to give what seemed a very comforting and wintery cake a try.

If I’m honest I thought it would be a bit moister and denser than it was so may try it with ground almonds instead of toasted flaked ones next time. It was still delicious with a cup of tea on a rainy summers afternoon. Dan said the method of mixing in half of the flour before adding the eggs results in a finer crumb texture and it definitely does make a difference.

Dan Lepard Almond Madeira Cake Continue reading