adjustment period – brandy cherry almond cake

by hungryrabbit on August 3, 2012

Brandy Cherry Almond Cake

After a fantastic couple of days of R&R in a charming bed & breakfast outside of New Hope, PA, followed by the excitement of Big Summer Potluck 3, it was quite difficult to transition back to day-to-day routines.

There’s nothing like a 3-hour meeting at a construction site first thing Monday morning to snap you back to dirt and sweat reality. Even though I’d rather be processing my BSP photos over morning coffee, the meeting was productive, and the coffee would need to wait.

Later when I finally brewed a cup or two,  I kept thinking about a summer weekday afternoon reward. I wanted cake–not a layered cake with fluffy icing but a cake that spoke of summer pleasure.

Thanks to the uncharacteristic weather patterns this summer, cherries were still available at the Farmer’s Market. I paired them with almonds, and the two shared the spotlight in a treat that’s half cake and half fruit.

Other than the fact that you need to turn the oven on in the middle of the summer (I think it’s worth it), this cake is a perfect taste of summer.

Brandy Cherry Almond Cake

recipe adapted from Cook’s illustrated
serves 6 to 8


2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
3 tablespoons brandy
1-1/4  pound sweet cherries, washed and pitted
1 black plum (about 5 ounces), halved, pitted and diced
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5-1/4 ounces)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (1-1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup (3-3/4 ounces)unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter , cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg , room temperature
1 large egg yolk , room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Confectioners’ sugar for serving


1. Cook jam and brandy in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until melted into a syrup, 1 minute. Add cherries and plum to the syrup and cook until the fruits soften and thick syrup is formed, about 5 minutes, stir occasionally. Cool cherry mixture in pan, about 20 minutes.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour 9-inch springform pan. Process sugar and almonds in food processor until nuts are finely ground, about 1 minute. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add eggs, vanilla, and almond extract; process until smooth, about 15 seconds, scraping bowl if necessary.

3. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using a small off-set spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Stir cherry mixture to coat with syrup and spread evenly over surface of batter; leaving a 3/4-inch border. Bake until cake is golden brown and wooden skewer inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 40-45 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cake to loosen. Cool in pan on wire rack until just warm or to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into wedges and serve.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

foodwanderings August 3, 2012 at 7:30 am

Seems like a magical weekend Ken. This type of cherry almond cake is exactly what I wish along with my afternoon tea. I wish you lived nearby so I could scramble a slice.:)

Monet August 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

Oh reality. It sounds like you all had an amazing time at the potluck though…and I can’t wait until I can go (next year!) This brandy almond cake looks just stunning, my friend. Talk about transporting me out of reality!

Barbara | Creative Culinary August 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Sounds like a lovely time was had by all! Funny, I just made a ‘bread’ but with so much of the same ingredients. I just want to do as much as I can in the cherry realm as possible; I’m sure the season is on the wane and I will miss those little buggars (even if pitting them is the pits!).

GORGEOUS cake. But then I expect no less.

Lynn August 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I heard that the big summer potluck was pretty powerful and have enjoyed reading the stories. Your cake sounds perfect to help you ease back into daily life. I recently made brandied cherries, which will work nicely with this recipe. I’m not so sure about turning on my oven when it’s supposed to be hovering around 100F! But you never know. I so enjoy reading your posts and trying your creative food items ;-)

Colette @ Just for Foodies August 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Gorgeous YUM! I must try your recipe this w/end. Thanks!

Margaret August 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I’m having some tea right now, and wish I have a piece of your cake to go with it! As usual, love all the pictures, gorgeous darling!

Naomi August 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Sweet geezus! Two of my favs in one. Lovely pics and awesome cake.

Kiran @ August 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Oh yum! I’d love a slice (or two!) with my tea :)

Been reading about big summer potluck. Looks like y’all had so much fun.

Mallory@forkvsspoon August 4, 2012 at 9:50 am

I can not resist anything almond and cherry (and brandy!)…the flavors pair so well together! Lovely photos.

ally August 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm

what a lovely dessert & stunning home!

Sasha @ The Procrastobaker August 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm

This looks so beautiful! Would loveee to try this thats for sure :)

Amanda August 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm

This is totally gorgeous and sounds so good. I adore cherries, one of my favorite fruits. Pinning this for later!

Meeta August 6, 2012 at 3:41 am

What a lovely quaint place Ken. Such a charming weekend! Oh and that cake looks simply sensational. Brandy and cherry = awesome pair!

kelly August 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Your pictures are simply gorgeous! They make me want to bake this cake, hop in a rental and drive up to New Hope to escape too! [heck, it's not that far from me!] Just staring at them gave me a momentary break in my afternoon, as I was daydreaming about curling up on a wicker chair on a porch in the woods with a slice of this cake, a cup of tea and only the songbirds to keep me company… ::sigh::

Russell van Kraayenburg August 9, 2012 at 10:53 am

Why have I not been keeping up with you over here?! This cake looks fantastic and I am loving all those shots. Good luck getting use to the real life.

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