There are those moments when it feels like Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.
Back in May of this year, the chosen recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was the “Lyonnaise Garlic and Herb Cheese” (or, in the Netherlands: "Verse Kaas met Kruiden op z´n frans"). Well, I was quite excited that my photo caught the attention of a Dutch gardening magazine ("Groei & Bloei") and was published in their August edition!
So in order to celebrate the occasion of my first ever published photo, I decided to bake a Cherry Vanilla Cake with Almonds and then enjoy the moment while eating a slice of this summery and wonderful cake and sipping a cup of East Frisian Tea, a tea with "a malty, strong, spicy and highly aromatic" flavor, which happens to be my favorite black tea.
Cherry Vanilla Cake with Almonds
("Kirschkuchen mit Vanille und Mandeln")
Ingredients for the Cake
160 grams (one cup) AP flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
60 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature plus some for greasing the baking dish
180 grams (3/4 cup) super fine sugar
½ package pure vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract (homemade if possible - please see Note for instructions)
2 eggs (L), organic or free range if possible
80 ml (1/3 cup) "thick" buttermilk (I use buttermilk from a farm cheese store – they have this wonderfully “thick" buttermilk – but you can substitute yogurt or sour cream but try to use an organic dairy products if possible)
about 35-40 cherries or 350 grams (depending on the size) of sweet/black cherries, pitted
Ingredients for the Topping
2 tsp coarse sugar
½ package pure vanilla sugar (homemade if possible)
2 tbsp slithered almonds
whipped cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Generously grease a pie dish (I used my Creuset oven-proof dish) with butter and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar (if using) and mix until pale yellow.
5. Add in eggs one at a time and mix until well combined (add the vanilla extract now if using).
6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in two additions - alternating with the buttermilk and stir just until combined.
7. Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
8. Carefully place the pitted cherries on top of the cake batter and with the palm of your hand carefully push them into the batter.
9. In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the topping.
10. Bake the cake for 20 minutes.
11. Scatter the topping on top of the half-baked cake – be careful not to burn yourself!
12. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Note: you can also skip the pre-bake and scatter the topping over the unbaked batter right away, almonds will then be more browned
13. You can serve the cake warm or at room temperature.
It was nice to savor the moment and be a bit amazed by the fact that this world has become a small place indeed. American author, French recipe, Dutch magazine and German blog...
This experience was nice but I also wanted to send a big - Thank You! - Merci! - Dank U Wel! - Danke! - around the globe for letting me be part of this unique French Fridays with Dorie group. I joined this group only a few months ago and have enjoyed every moment of participating in the baking and cooking adventures.
On some Days Life is just a Bowl of Cherries!
Homemade Vanilla Sugar
Since Vanilla Sugar can be a bit difficult to find in stores it might be best to make your own and keep it in a jar. It has an almost indefinite "shelf life" and the taste is worth the little effort it takes to make your own. You can add it to your baked goods by simply substituting vanilla extract by vanilla sugar.
two cups superfine sugar
one vanilla bean (from Madagascar or Hawaii)
Put the sugar in a glass jar and split the length of the vanilla bean and cut into sections.Place the sections into the sugar. Shake, cover and store in a cool and dark place for about two weeks before using.
Bowl from "Adelheid Werkstatt des wahren Glücks" at www.adelheidladen.de
Oven-proof dish from "Le Creuset" at www.lecreuset.fr
East Frisian Tea from www.teagschwendner.com
Dutch Gardening Magazine "Groei & Bloei", August 2012, www.groei.nl