summer cherry cake
Updated: Fri, 29 January, 2021
Summer cherry cake: fresh cherries atop the most ridiculously easy cake batter made of basic four ingredients.
The taste of summer
Summers always tasted of cherries when I was a kid. Sun blazing July, a holiday cottage, me ensconced in a hammock with my two cousins. A huge paper bag of cherries between us, we were swinging gently and spitting the stones ahead, competing for who spat them further.
The cherries were not washed (who would bother?), they occasionally housed little white grubby worms (pesticide free, you see) and they’d be either dark and glossy crimson or pale yellow, almost white.
It was bliss; it was summer.
My cherry days are over?
I don’t eat them very often these days. I guess the childhood props are gone forever. Hammocks for one are never around any more or they seem to be the posh free-standing kind.
The white cherry variety has either gone out of fashion, with people probably thinking they weren’t ripe, or has become prohibitively expensive. But above all I can’t really sit around on the patio spitting the stones out, can I? Or worse: do it and have to subsequently sweep them up. That’s like throwing a television out of the window and then having to go clean up.
And my firm belief is that the taste and flavour of fresh cherries is in the spitting. To politely extract the stone in your mouth and politely remove it into a napkin takes away all sense of pleasure.
Cherries for baking
But I still love cherries in cakes and though you can use frozen blueberries and raspberries all year round, cherries do not freeze that well and so they remain the summery and seasonal fruit.
You need to stone them which results in a bit of a crime scene after that activity with the kitchen dripping crimson juice. And if you don't have the special dedicated stoning tool, it can be done in a nifty way using the end of a closed safety pin.
The easiest cake mix
This cake mix is pathetically simple and completely fool-proof. No mixer is needed, the ingredients easily mixed together with a spoon. In fact it’s almost what the Americans call a ‘dump cake’.
No effort, five minutes in the kitchen, forty-five in the oven and the best taste of summer is back with me.
summer cherry cakeServings: 8Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 110g (1⁄2 cup) groundnut or rapeseed oil
- 200g (scant cup) sugar, plus 2 tbsp. for sprinkling
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- 250g (2 cups) plain flour
- 1⁄2 tsp bicarb of soda
- 160ml or 170g (2⁄3 cup) buttermilk
- 250g (11⁄2 cup) cherries
1. Butter and flour or line with parchment a square tin 20 x 20cm or similar. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3.
2. Stone and halve the cherries. Mix the oil and sugar in a bowl, add the cinnamon.
3. Add the flour and salt and the bicarb of soda and mix in – the mixture will resemble wet sand.
4. Add the buttermilk and mix into smooth batter.
5. Pour it into the prepared tin and cover with the cherry halves, cut side down.
6. Sprinkle with the 2 tbsp. of sugar and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely in the tin.