When I was thinking about what recipes to post related to tomorrow’s President’s Day Holiday, I immediately thought of Cherry Pie in honor of George Washington. Yes, I know the old story about chopping down the cherry tree and “I cannot tell a lie” is a myth. When I researched, though, I found that President Washington did appreciate good food, and did like cherry pie. But he also really liked hoecakes (cornmeal pancakes).
Then I thought, hmm, did good ol’ Abe also like cherry pie or did he have other preferences? Come to find out, President Lincoln shared a love corn cakes, but his very favorite food was apples.
Allen loved both fruits, in pie form and myriad other ways. I have already posted multiple apple recipes like Allen’s Apple Bars, and Apple Puff Pancakes, and Applesauce Cookies, so I think it is time for something with cherries.
This recipe for Buried Cherries Cake is delicious and extremely easy to make. In fact, you can see the few ingredients needed above–only 7 total. It is important to use tart cherries, not sweet ones, in order to keep a good balance of sweet and sour. No mixer is needed for this quick dessert; simply stir it all together with a fork. This cake is almost like a cherry shortcake: simple and yummy by itself, but can be enhanced with a bit of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
While draining the cherries, stir the dry ingredients together. Mix together the milk, oil and almond extract–note that there is no egg, that is not a misprint. Stir the last bit of sugar into the cherries-I used cane sugar in this recipe-set aside. Compared to white sugar, organic cane sugar has the full-bodied taste of sugarcane and is less processed, retaining a lot of the nutrients present in cane juice. I got a big bag on sale a while ago–so, why not try it instead of granulated sugar? But be forewarned, it does not dissolve as readily as granulated sugar, but worked well for this recipe. I would not use it for something like these meringues, though, because you need something that dissolves completely.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients; just mix it all together with a fork until well combined. Scrape it all into a greased 3-quart baking dish. It will be thick and will look like there is not enough, but don’t worry–it will work. Distribute the cherries all over the batter. They will sink as the cake rises up and bakes.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. The edges should be lightly brown and crunchy and a toothpick inserted in the cake portion should come out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. I like to serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream when the cake is warm, or freshly whipped cream when it is room temperature. Or just eat it plain–great with tea or coffee on a cold afternoon.
I have been experimenting with lots of non-dairy milk and have found that I prefer baking with oat milk when I want a rich, thicker milk, and I think it worked well here. You can see that the texture is good; the top is golden and rich looking. Oat milk is high in fiber, too. You can also use cow’s milk, almond, soy, or cashew milk in this recipe. I think I will research more, and develop a post about alternative milk and when/how to use them.
Now, what to do with all of that leftover cherry juice? You can reduce it by boiling it on the stovetop in a small pan until it is syrupy and concentrated. Then drizzle it over top of the cake for additional cherry sweetness. Or use the reduced syrup on top of vanilla ice cream. You can even use the juice in tea or warm milk for additional flavor and melatonin that helps with sleep.
No cornmeal in this, but I think both Presidents would have liked the flavor and texture of this cake.
BURIED CHERRIES CAKE
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup milk (I used oat milk)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 jar (24 ounces) dark morello tart red cherries, well drained
- Optional: Whipped cream or ice cream
Stir together flour, one cup sugar, and baking powder. Combine milk oil and almond extract in a large glass measuring cup.
Sprinkle the additional 1/4 cup sugar over the drained cherries, stir, and set aside.
Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Scrape the batter into a greased 3 quart baking dish.
Distribute the cherries over top of the batter.
Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.