I’d recently discovered some really nice dried cherries in Carrefour that don’t quite cost the sky (just an arm and a leg). It allowed me to finally try out Nigella’s recipe for a cherry cake. Her version involved natural glace cherries. I haven’t seen natural glace cherries anywhere in this corner of the world before and I thoroughly detest the typical bright scarlet ones, so I upped the decadence level by soaking the dried cherries for some hours in a mixture of kirsch and rum. It worked out beautifully, tasting a little like christmas fruit cake. It gets even better the next morning as the alcohol from the cherries infuses the cake. I’d imagine it’ll do wonderfully with extra dark rum scattered over the cake and left to age for a week before serving.
Before we get to the recipe, a few tips on prep work. First, soak the cherries overnight in a mixture of kirsch and rum. I ran out of kirsch, so topped up the alcohol with dark rum to cover the cherries in a bowl. Use brandy, whisky or vodka if you don’t have either the above. Next, halve your cherries or chop them very roughly as I think the cherried alcohol infuses better in the cake that way. Last word on flour: I don’t really like the hassle of stocking both plain and self-raising flour and also keeping track of my baking powder to make sure that it’s not expired yet. What I do instead is to make up my own baking powder by using cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda. If you’d like to tailor your own recipes, halve the amount of baking powder to find out how much cream of tartar to use, and halve the amount of cream of tartar for how much bicarbonate of soda to add.
200g dried cherries, soaked overnight in alcohol mix and then halved
1½tsp cream of tartar
¾tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 eggs, beaten
2 drops almond essence
100g ground almonds
about 3 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Butter and line a loaf cake tin.
- Drain the cherries, reserving the soaking liquid
- Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, then add eggs and almond essence.
- Fold in flour and ground almonds.
- Make up the cherry soaking liquid to 6 tbsp with the milk and fold into the cake mixture.
- Fold in the cherries and scrape out into tin.
- Bake for 1 hour or so until a satay stick comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before removing from tin.
Makes about 12 slices.