Dark Cherry Crumb Cake
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Serves: 10 servings
 
I love cake. I love cherries. And now, in the height of cherry season, I can often be found lurking around the refrigerator and pulling out several handfuls of those dark red gems to stuff in my mouth when nobody is looking. The dilemma became this – is there a way to enjoy both cake and cherries without losing any of that fresh cherry goodness? I think this may just do it. The cake base resembles a pound cake (we need something heavy duty to hold up all those cherries), and for some added personality there is shredded coconut, vanilla, and almond extract. This I could eat all on its’ own and be quite happy. However, we can’t forget the cherries! The little extra work of pitting and slicing beautiful dark red cherries in half is well worth the effort. No sugar added to this layer – those berries are sweet enough all on their own. To top it off, the crumb layer has a generous amount of ground almonds that will keep you coming back for one more bite….at least I do.
Ingredients
  • FOR THE CAKE LAYER
  • ½ cup room temperature butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1-½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sweetened, grated coconut
  • FOR THE FRUIT LAYER
  • 1 lb. (approximately 3 ½ cups when done) dark cherries, washed, pitted and halved
  • FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup whole almonds (preferably roasted and salted for extra flavor)
  • ⅓ cup butter
Instructions
  1. FOR THE CAKE LAYER
  2. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. NOTE: It’s a lot easier to place a circle of parchment paper you have cut to overlap the bottom of the springform pan a little, then spray it and the sides of the pan with cooking spray – your choice.
  4. In a mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. In another small bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, almond extract and vanilla extract.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour. When that’s blended in, add half the buttermilk mixture. When that’s blended in add the remaining flour. When that’s blended in add the remaining buttermilk mixture.
  8. Add the coconut and mix only until combined.
  9. FOR THE FRUIT LAYER
  10. You already have that handled if you have pitted and halved the cherries. If you haven’t, now is the time to get going on that exercise.
  11. FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING
  12. In a food processor (If you don’t have one, I bet you could handle this job by pulsing everything in a blender as long as you are really careful not to over-process everything). If you don’t have either, you are going to need to figure out how to bash those almonds into crumbs (or else maybe you can buy some in the supermarket. If you have or can find a product called ‘Almond Flour’, you can use that since that’s when Almond Flour is - crushed almonds. The only drawback to that is that the almonds in almond flour are not roasted so you will lose out on flavor by quite a lot.
  13. Where was I? Oh yeah. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and whole almonds in a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground.
  14. Cut the butter into cubes and process by pulsing ONLY until the butter pieces look about like the size of small peas.
  15. PUTTING EVERYTHING TOGETHER
  16. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared pan. Try to smooth is evenly as much as you can. If you’ve got a little offset spatula (ha ha – how many people have one of those laying around?) or even a small butter type knife, that should work.
  17. Sprinkle the cherries evenly on top of the cake batter. Do not press them down – just let them sit there.
  18. Grab the topping by the handful, and smoosh together in your hand until everything kind of starts to hold together. Then just sprinkle on top of the cherries, making as many tiny clumps of the topping as possible as you go. The idea here is to create some type of crumbly like texture on top of the cake.
  19. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Set the cake on top of the foil and get that thing into the oven.
  20. Here’s where you’ll need to be REALLY PATIENT. This cake will need to bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It’s really, really hard to tell when it’s done. The usual skewer trick doesn’t work very well since that big layer or cherries gets in your way. I found the absolute best way to check is to use an instant-read kitchen thermometer. If the cake is done, it should read right about 210 degrees in the center.
  21. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, I’d keep it in the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes to be on the safe side.
  22. When the cake is baked, remove from oven and pace on a cooling rack for at least 10-15 minutes.
  23. Remove the springform pan side and let the cake continue to cool.
  24. It’s not a good idea to cut this cake until it is perfectly cooled because it needs time to set up and get over that entire oven experience. Better yet, you can chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours once it’s cool and you will be guaranteed perfect slices when you cut into it – but it is really not easy to wait that long!
Recipe by Bird's Nest Bites at https://birdsnestbites.com/dark-cherry-crumb-cake/