I just wrote “cheery coffee cake” by mistake, but isn’t that fitting?
Because sometimes life’s a bowlful of cherries…nestled in buttery batter and (if you’re lucky) topped with crumbly streusel. Especially when good friends come to visit from out of town.
This recipe started with one Rachel Ray calls “Cherry Breakfast Cake.” I decided to halve it (because really, 3 sticks of butter?) and add one of cherry’s best partners: the almond.
My friend Vicky came to hang out this weekend, and we decided to treat ourselves to a decadent breakfast before touring some D.C. museums. It was fun and fairly easy to make, even with our pained attempts to halve the recipe on the fly. If the buttery crumb inspired pangs of guilt, our tastebuds sang nonetheless.
-2 1/4 c. flour, divided
-3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar [I was a little short of 3/4 c. and subbed a bit of white sugar with fine results]
-1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp.) butter, melted [we forgot to melt it—oops]
-1/4 c. buttermilk [or 1/4 c. regular milk plus 1/4 tsp. of white vinegar]
-1/4 c. granulated sugar
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 10-ounce bag frozen pitted cherries, thawed and drained
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
-1/3 c. toasted slivered almonds (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8-in. (or smallish) baking dish.
2. In a medium bowl, using your fingers, combine 1 1/2 cups flour and the brown sugar. Mix in all but 1 Tbsp. butter until large crumbs form; set aside.
3. In a med. bowl, whisk together the remaining butter, egg, and buttermilk.
4. To the same bowl bowl, add in the remaining 3/4 cup. flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix lightly. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
5. Fold about 1/3 of the reserved crumb mixture into the batter; spread evenly into the prepared baking dish.
6. Scatter the cherries over the batter. Add the almonds to the remaining crumb mixture and sprinkle on top of the cherries.
7. Bake the cake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. [Mine took about 55-60 min. to brown and for a toothpick to come out decently clean. The incorporated streusel and juicy cherries make that test iffy.]
Transfer to a rack to cool slightly before serving. Best served warm.
Note: these measurements reflect half of the original recipe. You could double everything and bake in a 9×13-in. pan for a crowd.