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.