Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cherry and Raspberry Cake

Every year, I observe Lent. Yes, that whole not eating meat on Friday, and giving up something you really like from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. I hate it. It sucks. But in order to make up for being a complete pill for most of the year, I try to do good by giving up all sweets and soda. So, one of my favorite traditions for Easter is to make something sweet that I really like to enjoy with family on Easter Sunday. Aside from watching the Ten Commandments, it's one of my favorite Easter traditions.
So this year for my "thank God it's over" moment, I'm making a cherry cake that I had made during the summer after a happy day of cherry picking in Peabody at Brooksby Farm. After my happy day of Hi Ho Cherry-O, I froze the remainder of my cherries, just for an occasion like this.
The recipe for making this cake is super easy. It's almost full proof, and a delicious cake batter. The original recipe can be found here. For this Easter, since the cherries are not quite as glistening as when they were fresh, I also bought a little box of fresh raspberries to scatter over the top of the cake. Otherwise, I followed the recipe word for word. Basically, you prepare the cake batter with your typical eggs, milk, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, add a bit of lemon zest, and then fold in your cherries. The batter goes into a spring form pan, and is baked at 400 degrees for fifteen minutes. The pan is then removed to make a pretty little design with scattered halves of raspberries. Into the oven for another seventeen minutes, and you have a fluffy, buttery and wonderfully fruity cake, fit for a celebration. 
I've yet to meet a soul that doesn't love this cake. And quite frankly, it's taking all my will power not to take a test slice right now. But Lent is almost over, and tomorrow after a wonderful ham dinner at my in-laws, I intend to tuck into a serious piece of this cake... like a serious "right triangle" piece of this cake. It'll be pillowy and airy with every fork full, the flavor of butter and sweet vanilla only broken by the additional morsels of cherry fruit stored safely in my freezer for Easter indulgence. Then there are those fresh, tart raspberries, baked and merged into the golden brown top of the entire cake. I seriously can't wait. 
Happy Easter everyone!


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).  Butter and flour an 9 inch (23 cm) spring form pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Rinse, dry, and pit all the cherries. Then take about 1/4 of the cherries, cut them in half, and set them aside to be placed on the top of the cake during baking. Leave the remainder of the pitted cherries whole (to be folded into the cake batter).
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugar until thick and lemon colored (about 3-5 minutes). Add the melted butter, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Gently fold in the whole pitted cherries (not the cherries that you have halved for the top of the cake). Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. 
Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven. Quickly arrange the remaining cherries, cut side down, on the top of the cake. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.

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