One of my very favorite food blogs is Confessions of a Tart. Is it one you've ever visited? Almost every time I do, I find a recipe I'd like to try. It contains some of the most lovely and striking photos I've ever seen in any blog, and not just of baked goods. Its writer, whose name is Irene, has an intuitive way with her camera. Anyway, I'm a big fan.
A nice cherry coffee cake recipe--made with fresh sweet cherries, mind you--caught my eye in Confessions of a Tart recently and I tried it out yesterday, with slight revision. The texture is wonderfully velvet-like and kind of dense without actually coming across as heavy. The flavor is delicate; it fittingly complements the sweet-tart Bing cherries. Truly good.
The biggest changes I made to Irene's recipe included adding in a very small amount of lemon zest, adding in a wee bit more salt, baking the cake for no longer than 35 minutes max, draining a little juice from the berries at the get-go, and rewriting the directions a smidgen. Oh, and I baked it in a 9" springform pan. (I'm sure it would work just as well in any 9" layer cake pan but, never having made it before, I wasn't sure so I wanted a pan with slightly higher sides.)
**Full Recipe Disclosure: Irene notes in her post for cherry coffee cake that she in fact discovered the recipe in another food site called "A Series of Kitchen Experiments." Irene altered that recipe, and created her post based on her revision. I, in turn, looked at both recipes in both sites, and made my own version, which is sort of a slightly modified, happy medium between the two versions. ( Did you get all that? Are we good to go, or do you think I need to get on the horn and secure the services of an intellectual property attorney??)
It's a simple recipe with a pleasing result. Just what we all need now and then, right?
Fresh Sweet-Cherry Coffee Cake
(For a printable version of this recipe click here!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a rack in the upper third of your oven.
Grease and flour, or spray with baking spray, a 9" cake pan or springform pan.
1 and 1/2 cups of cherries, pitted and sliced in halves or quarters (whichever you like)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups All Purpose flour, bleached or unbleached
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 scant tsp. of lemon zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
Place the pitted, sliced cherries in a small bowl and mix in a tablespoon of granulated sugar.
Pour the cherries into a strainer or colander placed over the bowl, and let juice drip off of them for about an hour.
Measure and combine the dry ingredients--flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
After an hour has passed, discard the juice in the bowl that dripped from the cherries. Put the drained cherries back in the empty bowl and mix in 1 tsp. of vanilla. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a mixer for a couple of minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs to the creamed mixture, one at a time, until well combined.
Add the lemon zest and the additional 1/2 tsp. of vanilla to the creamed mixture; combine.
Now, stirring just by hand--not with the mixer--add in the flour mixture and the milk alternately--three portions of flour and two of milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir just until combined; don't overmix. The batter will be thick.
Gently fold the cherries into the batter. Don't mix too zealously or the batter will become pinkish from the cherries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Set on the upper oven rack. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a rack.
Garnish the top with confectioner's sugar and a couple of your prettiest leftover cherries.
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