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Saturday
Apr072012

cherry morning cakes

I've been dying to bake with cherries. 

Ripe, red, tart cherries like the ones that grew on a stunted little tree outside our house when I was young. Those were the best cherries.

I found the next best thing -- tart cherries in a can.

Now I don't have to wait for that short cherry season in the summer.

I can have them now...for breakfast...in a golden, crispy-edged cake...

Muffins are good.

But, sometimes, (most of the time), cake is better.

Everyone likes cake. 

Especially if it has cherries. And coconut. And almonds. And streusel.

I ate two cakes right out of the oven. 

So good...

It's like a twisted sort of muffin top heaven.

The super wide and warpled edges taste like they've been fried.

And the cherries...

tart little pops of flavor buried down in the middle of those sweet, moist cakes.

The pink cherry icing is a bonus.

Not really necessary, but it pretty-fies the cakes a bit.

I liked mine dressed-down.

Simple, straight-up cherry cake.

Cherry Morning Cakes

streusel adapted from Lottie & Doof's version of Dorie Greenspan's Jammers

for streusel topping:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, heaping
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in microwave. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well-combined and pebbly. Press into a mound and chill in freezer while preparing cake batter.

for the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tart cherries in water (about 1 1/2 cups) (I used the Oregon Fruit Products brand), drained, juice/water reserved

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line one 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners and lightly grease the pan around the cups.

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In large bowl, beat or whisk together the sugar and oil until well-combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Whisk in almond extract. 

Fold in flour mixture until almost combined (streaks of flour are fine). Add coconut, almonds and cherries until just combined, being careful not to crush the cherries.

Divide batter evenly between the 12 cups -- the cups will be full.

Break up chilled streusel into chunks and divide evenly over tops of cupcakes.

Place cupcake pan on a baking sheet (to catch any batter overflow) and place in preheated oven.

Start checking for doneness at about 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Mine took longer than that, but my oven is finnicky right now and likes to randomly shut itself off. Which sucks. Big time.)

Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes, or until the edges become crispy and firm. Carefully remove and allow to cool on cooling rack.

For optional cherry pink icing (see note): 

  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon reserved cherry juice/water 

In small bowl, mix sugar and cherry juice until combined. Drizzle lightly over cooled cakes. 

To store, cover lightly or not at all -- the fruit keeps the cakes moist. Covering this type of cake can lead to sogginess, which is not fun to wake up to. The cakes keep well for a day or two uncovered at room temperature.

Note: The cakes don't really need the icing, as the streusel and cherries gives them a great balance of sweet and tart. However, the icing works well if you're looking to dress these babies up a bit.

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