If I see something interesting or tasty looking in the supermarket I will buy it even if I have no planned use for it. This means I have beautifully stocked but permanently overfull cupboards. When I say “overfull” I mean full to the point that I can’t always face looking at what’s up the back of the cupboard. I’m trying to get Mr CC to appreciate how exciting a well stocked cupboard is but I think I’m failing – he sees my ‘treasures’ as obstacles hindering him access to the cereal.
Every time I tidy my baking store cupboard I take out the jar of morello cherries, check the date is still ok, and then put them back. Too ashamed to go through this ritual again I decided it was time to use the cherries....and here’s the cake!
Usually I find a recipe to bake and then make sure I buy everything I need to make it. It’s a nice change to start with a jar of cherries and seek a recipe to use them. This cake is adapted from a German recipe; I always seem drawn to German recipes – I like no-nonsense, no frills flavoursome cakes and Germany seems to share my fondness!
Morello cherries are unique; they have the sweet fruitiness of other cherries but also that tart/sour note...I want to say they have an almost nutty taste but don’t want to mislead anyone! I’m not really sure how to describe their complex flavour but I love them contrasted against sweet, soft, buttery sponge cake.
The shiny glaze on the top comes from brushing molten apricot jam over the hot cake; it elevates a simple cake to something more patisserie-style. The glaze sets shiny and unsticky so it’s not a pain to eat!
Of course, while I’m pleased I have finally used the morello cherries, I can’t help thinking that there’s room on the shelf for another jar now......!
For the cake:
350g jar morello cherries
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 drops lemon juice – I always have a jif lemon on standby in the fridge for such things!
200g self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan oven 160°C/350°F/ Gas mark 4.
Line a 20cm springform round tin with baking paper.
Drain the cherries and leave them to air dry while you make the cake.
Beat together the butter and sugar until it is light, pale and whippy. Don’t skimp on this stage.
Beat in the vanilla and lemon.
Beat in the eggs one at a time; if the mix looks like it might start to curdle add some of the flower.
Briefly beat in the flour and milk. Don’t overbeat it – just go until the batter looks smooth and the ingredients are well combined.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface.
Gently place the cherries on top of the batter. Don’t press them down as you don’t want to encourage them to sink!
Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out cleanly.
While the cake is baking, pass the jam through a sieve and stir in the water.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, heat the jam and water to boiling point then brush over the hot cake.
Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack. Leave it in its tin until you can safely remove it.
The cake will store in an airtight container for several days.
Serve in generous slices with thick cream.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.