Cherry and almond is one of those classic flavour combinations that’s best in a Bakewell tart (although a traditional tart uses strawberry jam, not cherry!). It’s one of my favourite pairings, so I was intrigued when BBC Good Food added a slew of Bakewell-based cake recipes to their website last year. I baked this cherry Bakewell cake after adapting a recipe for a raspberry version – and it’s truly delicious.
The great thing about this cake is how easy it is to make. You throw everything into a bowl/food processor and mix, then layer the mix with fresh cherries in the tin and top with flaked almonds. And that’s it! My version takes a little longer than BBC Good Food’s raspberry cake, because of the process of taking the stones out of the cherries, but it’s well worth it.
De-stoning cherries is pretty easy – I do it in the same way as when I de-stone olives. I slice them around the middle then twist half of the fruit away, and pick out the stone from the other half. You end up with some nice, neat cherry halves as a result (see above).
I don’t have a food processor big enough for a cake mix, so I just threw all the ingredients in a bowl and beat them together, which seemed to work fine and didn’t take too long at all. I never seem to have golden caster sugar in, so I mixed normal caster sugar with light muscovado sugar.
The recipe calls for 140g of ground almonds, but as the bag I bought was 150g, I thought ‘what the hell?’ and put the whole lot in. I also switched the teaspoon of vanilla extract for half a teaspoon of almond extract and half of vanilla, which adds an extra almondy dimension to the cake that I think brings it very close to the flavour of a proper Bakewell tart.
Layering the mix and cherries is a doddle. The mix is thick enough to be spreadable with a spatula, and then you simply throw the cherries on top and spread the other half of the mix over them. Then, scatter with flaked almonds and it’s ready to go! I found I had to leave it in the oven for a good 20 minutes or so longer than the original recipe says, but I think that’s because cherries are much juicier than raspberries, making the overall cake more moist.
The final result is pretty damn good. The almond flavour is really, really intense – thanks to my addition of almond extract and extra ground almonds. The cherries themselves are cooked beautifully – they were quite sour when raw, but end up with just enough sweetness when baked in the cake. There’s not much I’d do next time to improve on the recipe, although one of the commenters on the original recipe suggests adding blobs of cherry jam too, which I might try to get some extra cherry flavour in there.
Adapted from BBC Good Food’s raspberry Bakewell cake recipe:
- 150g ground almonds
- 140g butter , softened
- 140g golden caster sugar (or 70g caster sugar and 70g light muscovado sugar)
- 140g self-raising flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 250g cherries, de-stoned and sliced in half
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds
- icing sugar, to serve
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and base-line and grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
- Blitz the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract in a food processor or beat together in a large bowl until well combined.
- Spread half the mix over the cake tin and smooth over the top. Scatter the cherries over, then dollop the remaining cake mixture on top and roughly spread – you might find this easier to do with your fingers.
- Scatter with flaked almonds and bake for 50 mins until golden. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake – if there’s cake mix clinging to it, bake for 10 to 20 mins longer. Cool, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve.