Honey-Almond Cherry Cake

This is the second thing I’ve made with the beautiful produce I bought at the farmer’s market on Saturday. I couldn’t wait to eat the kale and I had to try the strawberries…and the cheese pretty much got eaten within an hour of being unpacked. I saved a few strawberries for tomorrow’s post, Strawberry-Fig-Mascarpone Tart (stay tuned!). And I made some vegetable stock today that will become Creamy Garlic Scape Soup tomorrow, with any luck. Anyway, now that you’re up to date on my activity, let’s turn our attention to our fickle mistress of the day: the gluten-free cake.

Truth be told, this cake was not a total success. My egg whites did not peak, the cherries are a bit too tart (and there weren’t enough of them), the almonds weren’t ground fine enough, and I also baked the cake too long. But YOU are probably a better baker than I am, and if we’re being totally honest, I mess up most of the things I bake. I tell myself that this is normal, especially when you’re making up the recipe as you go along. I also give myself a little credit for going gluten-free AND refined sugar-free in the same recipe, not to mention leaving butter out entirely. Before you decide you don’t want to make this recipe after all, I’ll add one more thing: Ryan loved it. And he usually avoids all desserts. This one is definitely less sweet, and is delicious when drizzled over with some warmed honey, or even some honey-sweetened yogurt or whipped cream. It’s one of those cakes that to me begs for a sweet, creamy accompaniment. But then, as you may have noticed, I have a tiny (gigantic) sweet tooth.

A quick note: pitting the cherries can be a pain in the tuches, but fortunately this recipe makes it easy on you. If you have a cherry pitter, more power to you. After you’ve pitted your cherries, you’ll just need to slice them in half (or, you know, not. Your cake-eaters will be none the wiser.). I found it to be pretty easy to just slice them from stem to end, squeeze or thumb out the pit, and then continue to slice all the way through. Even simpler: rinse your cherries, grab a small, sharp knife, and simply chop around the pits. However you prepare them will be just fine.

So, make this. Delight in its honey-nut goodness. Revel in the juicy, dark cherries that you will scatter masterfully and evenly across the perfectly risen surface of your perfect cake. You will do better than I did, I’m sure.

Honey-Almond Cherry Cake
Adapted from this website.
Note: All ingredients should be at room temperature before beginning. If you don’t have a food processor, see if you can find ground almond meal and start with step 2. Also, it is important that you place the cherries on the cake halfway through the baking process; otherwise they will sink to the bottom and you won’t get that pretty polka-dot effect.

Ingredients:

1½ cups whole almonds, toasted
OR 1¾ cup ground almond meal (see note)
4 large eggs, separated
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and roughly chopped

Equipment:

A 9″ springform pan, greased, lined with parchment paper, then greased again
A baking sheet
2 medium mixing bowls
A whisk OR a hand held egg beater OR a standing mixer
A rubber spatula

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spread the whole almonds out on the baking sheet and toast for 7-9 minutes, until they are browned and fragrant. Give the pan a shake halfway through and check them periodically to make sure they don’t burn. Let them cool for ten minutes before proceeding. Process the almonds in a food processor until finely ground (you should have about 1¾ cups).

2. Keep your oven set at 350°F. Beat the egg yolks, honey, vanilla, baking soda, and salt vigorously for 2-3 minutes by hand, or on medium speed if you’re using an electric mixer. Add the ground almonds and lemon zest and stir until just combined.

3. Beat the egg whites in your second bowl until very foamy, white, and doubled in volume, just stiff enough to hold peaks (the “soft peak” stage, for those of you keeping track). Using your rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the almond mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the oven. Scatter the cherries evenly over the surface, taking care to space them out so that the cake does not get too weighed down in any particular spot. Return the cake to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes, until it is golden brown and a tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

5. Remove the cake to a rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Gently loosen the sides and allow to cool completely before placing it on a platter. If you’d like to remove the parchment before serving, use a thin rubber spatula after it has cooled and gently peel the paper away, lifting the cake with your fingers.

6. Serve drizzled with warm honey or whipped & sweetened plain yogurt.

{images by carol catherine}

1 comment
  1. sistersister said:

    Your sister made this. It was amazing. I want to eat it all the time.

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