I Heart Cherries!
But in these tropical climes, fresh, juicy red cherries are fleeting, not to mention expensive. But hey, a girl’s gotta live a little, no?
Recently C and I passed a fruit stall along Geylang where we journey to every now and then for our fix of pomfret charcoal steamboat. The pile of gleaming, rubescent fruit were simply impossible to resist — well, that and the durians that C carted home in a pungent Styrofoam box.
We had cherries, stoned and sliced into our bowls of yoghurt and cereal at breakfast; we ate them for dessert, and then for supper. They also found their way into this deceptively delicious cake from Mich Turner’s Fantastic Party Cakes.
Now there are books I buy for the recipes and those I pick purely for aesthetic inspiration. This book falls in the latter category. So until I read a review of the book in last Sunday’s newspapers, I’d never actually thought try out any recipe from it. But the reviewer said something about the author’s recipe yielding the best butter cake that had ever come out of her oven. And in our house, the quest for the perfect easy-to-make butter cake is a never-ending one.
Indeed, Turner’s recipe for a basic vanilla butter cake yielded one of the best that’s ever come out of my oven. And a few pages away was the recipe for this gem. It is moist, soft, fluffy and just downright delicious. The crumble on the top also gives it a nice, light crunch. It is a cake that needs no accompaniment — not ice cream, not crème fraiche, not whipped cream, nothing. Well, maybe just a steaming cup of coffee or tea.
Cherry & Almond Cake
(adapted from Mich Turner’s Fantastic Party Cakes)
For the cake:
140g self-raising flour
1 large egg
4 tbsp milk
85g unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp almond extract (I used vanilla instead)
350g cherries, stoned and cut in half or quarters (I got away with using about 200g)
For the crumble topping:
25g ground almonds
1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line the base of a shallow 20cm tin.
2. Measure flour and sugar into a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the egg, milk, melted butter and almond or vanilla extract.
3. Beat with a wooden spoon till smooth.
4. Spoon into the tin and spread evenly.
5. Scatter the cherries over the cake mixture and gently press them in.
6. Make the topping by measuring all the ingredients into a clean bowl.
7. Rub the butter in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs gently clumped together. Scatter this over the cherries.
8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake emerges clean.
5. Allow the cake to cool and then remove it from the tin to cool completely on a wire rack.