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this business with the cherries

June 28 2010 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Uncategorized » 22 comments

Cherry-Almond Yogurt Cake

Cherries and I having a bit of a moment.  They showed up at the markets, suddenly, unexpectedly.  I remember them coming much later last year, but such memories are a tricky thing—they’re hard to trust.  In any event, the cherries have been here in abundance for the past couple weeks and I just can’t seem to get enough.  I’ve been happily eating them out of hand.  Firm, glossy and garnet, I’ll pluck one, stem pinched between my fingers, from the bowl, pop it into my mouth, revel in the tart, summery, juicy flesh and then, lips pursed and with a phwoottt! I’ll spit the pit into a cupped palm.  Discard the pit and stem; repeat as necessary.  I’ve spent several recent evenings repeating until my heart, and belly, were content.

Cherry-Almond Yogurt Cake

But why stop there?  The cherries have me dreaming up baked goods.  They conjured a simple yogurt cake in my mind, a recipe born in a split second, in a dreamy thought.  I tinkered with the idea two Sundays in a row until I had a recipe, right there on paper, and a perfect cake, right there in the pan.

Cherry-Almond Yogurt Cake

This tale alone is testament to the cherries.  I haven’t developed a cake recipe in a very long time.  It’s something I had time to do as a student, and then in the leisurely months after I took the bar exam and hadn’t yet started working.  Now, though, it’s a luxury that I can scarcely afford.  Instead, I rely on already-existing recipes, preferably those that come from trusted sources or those that come along with ringing endorsements.  These cherries, though, demanded an almond-yogurt cake.  Specifically, the one in my mind’s eye—almondy and ever so slightly sweet, cherries suspended in the nubbly crumb, more cherries still scattered atop the cake.  And, on my second attempt, that’s what the cherries got.

Cherry-Almond Yogurt Cake

Then, just when I thought I was nearing the point of satiation, our waiter placed a slip of paper on the table before us after our meals were cleared on Friday night—a short list of desserts, no more than five.  Kevin was hoping to see a wedge of chocolate pie listed among them and I expected my eye to go no further than the migas bark, slabs of dark chocolate speckled with bread crumbs, of all things, that dependably anchor this restaurant’s dessert list.  Instead, we both zeroed in a chocolate marquise topped with roasted cherries.

Cherry-Almond Yogurt Cake

Roasted cherries!  Why hadn’t I thought of that?  We ordered it, of course, and spooned up the thick, rich chocolate and the soft winey cherries.  The next night, as if I even have to tell you, I was sliding a tray of cherries into the oven in my own kitchen.  Once roasted, their transformation is not unlike that which a roasted cherry tomato undergoes: their flesh relaxes under the oven’s heat, their skins barely contain the jammy insides, their sweetness deepens, their tartness rounds out.  Atop sour cream ice cream, atop my morning yogurt, eaten hot straight from the pan, eaten chilled straight from the fridge, they are a wonder.

roasted cherries

Had the roasted cherries sealed the deal?, I wondered.  Perhaps I’d finally had enough.  But then, on Sunday, the sour cherries had arrived at our market.  Which clearly means that this business with the cherries is far from over.

roasted cherries

Cherry-Almond Yogurt Cake
.
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup grapeseed (or other neutral) oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup pitted cherries, chopped, plus 1/3 cup halved cherries, divided
.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan.
.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, brown sugar, oil, eggs and extract.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt.  Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing until just combined.
.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.  Scatter the 1 cup of chopped cherries on top of the batter.  Top with the remaining batter.  Scatter the remaining 1/3 cup of halved cherries into the batter, pressing them ever so gently into the batter.
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Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, when the cake should be golden and wooden tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
.
*****
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Roasted Cherries
.
1 pound cherries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
splash bourbon
pinch salt
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Preheat oven to 450.  Combine all ingredients on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing to coat the cherries evenly.  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cherries have soften and some have begun to burst.  Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.  These cherries are wonderful atop ice cream and yogurt.

22 comments so far. »
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  1. allison [a for aubergine] says on June 28 2010 at 8:21 pm:

    This looks like a clafouti. Does it taste like one? Well, either way, I’m sure it’s stellar!

  2. Half Assed Kitchen says on June 28 2010 at 8:53 pm:

    It’s been a warm spring! Cherries, yay!

  3. Vanessa says on June 28 2010 at 9:20 pm:

    I have wanted nothing more than cherries lately and these dishes sound so perfect! What a wonderful idea.

  4. Shaheen says on June 28 2010 at 9:22 pm:

    Your cherry recipe looks fantastic. Oil instead of butter in cakes always gives a more most result, doesn’t it? Yummy photos as always.

  5. Jessica says on June 29 2010 at 3:38 am:

    I adore cherries. They were about $2 a lb for a week, now they are back up to $6 a lb! They are super pricey!

  6. Adriana from Baking Powders says on June 29 2010 at 5:34 am:

    I NEED to try this… like… today! or tomorrow, or whenever I have time to breathe… I’m in love with this… yogurt and almond, yum and yum, delightful

  7. Patricia Scarpin says on June 29 2010 at 5:35 am:

    I love cherries, too – can’t wait to find them here in Brazil (their season is by the end of the year, summer for us).
    That is such a wonderful cake – I’ll be bookmarking the recipe!

  8. Maddie says on June 29 2010 at 5:49 am:

    After months of using frozen berries as a topper for my morning yogurt and granola, I’m so pumped to have fresh summer fruit around again. It’s funny how simple pleasures like cherries, blueberries and peaches never fail to excite, year after year! Seems like you’ve found a way to make the most of them — roasting is a fantastic idea.

  9. Whitney says on June 29 2010 at 6:14 am:

    I love cherries. They have been the perfect mid-afternoon snack. It was sad that early cherries meant a quick strawberry season but other than that no worries.

    Need to try the roasting. Read that idea over at the Kitchn as well. Delicious.

    You need to try the sour cherry coffee cake from Martha (which I found over at Lottie + Doof).
    http://whitneyinchicago.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/sour-cherry-coffee-cake/

    I actually still have some frozen from last year (i’m crazy) and I made a double batch this weekend for Pride and it was delicious.

  10. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says on June 29 2010 at 6:35 am:

    mmm… this looks fantastic! What a terrific use of cherries. :)

  11. heather @ chiknpastry says on June 29 2010 at 6:54 am:

    looks great. i made a bluberry buckle last year that is similar – cake, buckle, claflouti – who knows what they really are, eh?

    you must have been at Mado? love that place – my hubs took me and 13 of my buddies there for my 30th, but i’d been a number of times before. can’t beat the BYOB and that migas bark!

  12. Eliana says on June 29 2010 at 9:44 am:

    This is the perfect vehicle to eat cherries. That’s when you’re not eating them out of your hands.

  13. Michelle [Michelle's Kitchen] says on June 29 2010 at 1:03 pm:

    This looks amazing! I seems that everything has been early this year at the Farmer’s Markets in Michigan. I have some cherries that I need to use up soon and I may just try this! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Barbara says on June 29 2010 at 1:37 pm:

    This looks like a heavenly recipe! I’m having a love affair with cherries right now too. But I wish they didn’t stain my fingers when I’m pitting them!

  15. Liz says on June 29 2010 at 1:47 pm:

    i love cherries and am unable to pass them at the market without scooping some into my basket. I love the idea of a yogurt cake too!

  16. Butler Sinks says on June 30 2010 at 4:27 am:

    Weird – I have a clafouti made this morning! Just come back from a few months in Australia and I can safely say, the stone fruits are far better here at this time of the year than anywhere else. Cherries are amazing.

  17. kimberly says on June 30 2010 at 6:56 am:

    we had such warm weather (in Virginia) this spring the cherries were early here too. everything has been early this year – strawberries, blueberries, peaches…

  18. Chocolate and Toast says on June 30 2010 at 8:05 am:

    Beautiful! I’m on a cherry baking binge, too – working on some sour cream buttermilk scones. And roasted cherries are out of this world!

  19. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) says on June 30 2010 at 12:11 pm:

    Ahh yummy!! I’m going to try roasting cherries :)

  20. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on June 30 2010 at 2:04 pm:

    Thanks everyone!

    allison: I suppose the almond and cherries remind me of a clafoutis, but the texture and structure here is much more cake-like.

    whitney: I remember Tim’s recipe catching my eye last year! Thanks for the reminder.

    heather: Right you are! That sounds like a wonderful celebration of your 30th.

    kimberly: Peaches! I am waiting not-so-patiently for peaches.

    Chocolate and Toast: Those scones sound wonderful!

  21. emily says on July 03 2010 at 6:56 pm:

    I made a third of this recipe and baked it in a cupcake tin. I don’t like bitter almonds, so I added a splash of rum and a bit of vanilla instead of almond extract. One of my peaches was dry, so I added that in instead of some of the cherries. and olive oil because I love the flavor.

    the point being that you can stray a good bit from this recipe and still come out fine :) I’m quite fond of yogurt cakes, and I love the pairing of almond meal with fruit. thanks!

  22. Ashley says on July 07 2010 at 7:45 pm:

    Haha great cherry love story and that cake looks completely perfect!

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