The first problem with my cherry cake was that all the cherries sunk to the bottom. Although the taste of the cake was pleasing – moist, and light – the lack of visibility of the cherries when I cut into the cake made it less than impressive. Looking further into this, it seemed that sinking cherries were a common problem with this Saturday tea-time cake. The solution however, seemed to be simple. Coating the cherries in flour before adding them to the mixture apparently reduces their density, and thus are significantly less likely to sink during the baking time – it must be said that having cherries visible in a slice gives presentation worthy of the taste!
The addition of lemon in this cake gives it a zesty freshness, that perfectly offsets the sweetness of the glace cherries. Furthermore, as an extra liquid component alongside the milk, the cake has an extra level of moistness. This cake isn’t difficult to make, but the timings for the oven can be a little hazy depending on the strength of your appliances! I cooked mine for an hour as was suggested by the recipe, and my top came out a little burnt – I was luckily able to slice off the top and the difference wasn’t too noticeable, but it is worthwhile noting that this cake needs to be monitored, if you don’t want a charred-cherry disaster!
- 250g glace cherries, quartered or halved depending on size when whole
- 200g plain flour
- 200g butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon of milk
- 3 large eggs
- Zest and the juice of a lemon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Extra: 6 crushed sugar cubes for decoration before baking
- Coat the cherries in one tablespoon of flour, taken from the 200g total. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy and light in colour.
- Whisk the eggs, and add gradually to the creamed mixture, beating hard with each addition to introduce air and to ensure everything is evenly combined.
- Gradually sift the remaining flour into the creamed ingredients, folding each addition carefully in figure of eights with a metal spoon, taking care to keep the air within the cake mixture.
- Add the cherry mixture and fold in evenly, again ensuring the air is not removed. Pour in the milk, and gently stir.
- Using a zester, introduce the zest of the lemon, and stir. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice from one half. Stir and taste – if it is not too lemony, add the second half. Be careful that the acidity of the lemon doesn’t curdle the ingredients!
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and prepare a 20cm round cake tin by lining the base and sides with non-stick baking parchment. This might be made easier by greasing the edges first, so the parchment doesn’t fall away.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and, if using, sprinkle evenly with the crushed sugar cubes. Bake in the oven for an hour, or until it is risen and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin. When removed from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for fifteen minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.