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Monday, 19 August 2013

Old-Fashioned Cherry Cake

This post is based on ingredients I happened to have in already and required using up.  Glace Cherries that I brought by error and some left over ground almonds from an old recipe.  I have always been a fan of simple cake, cake to eat with coffee, or just to cut off a chunk when a sugar hit is needed.  

I was flipping through 'Delia's Cakes' and came across her recipe for Old-fashioned cherry cake.  A quick read through the ingredients and method and I was ready to go (a big tip for any baker, read it completely first!).  

She states that  recipes for cherry cake often end up with sunken cherries however her tip is to reserve some and scatter on top after you have transferred the mix to the baking tin.  Poking them in just before cooking means some will sink but those on top will stay where they are.  Another technique I know that is suppose to keep fruit, chocolate chips or any 'added' ingredient comes from Ina Garten - she recommends coating whatever it is you are adding in some flour.   I decided to follow Delia's instruction this time but next time I will give Ina's ago.

This cake is very traditional - the same amount of flour, sugar and butter to three eggs.  Basic creaming method - mixer highly recommend.  I tip I often read and does make a huge difference is making sure the butter is at room temp.  There is a big difference between butter taken out the fridge an hour before you want it and one that has been left over night to totally soften.  I often think ahead when baking and remove things from the fridge the night before I need it.  Sometimes I forget and a quick blast in the microwave helps, but remembering to leave it out is the best.  I always keep eggs at room temp in the cupboard - they do not need to be stored in the fridge. 

When making this cake it is very important to over-line the cake tin.  It raises a lot and you without the extra lining your either going to get a messy oven or a flat cake -  or both.  Over lining is easy, and so is lining the base.  I have included in the start of this recipe my method for quickly lining a tin.

So, here is a quick tip to line a cake tin, and Delia's fab recipe for Cherry Cake.

Lining a cake tin - the easy way.

I have tried to include enough photos to make this easy.  First you need a large piece of baking paper (a square larger than your tin).


Fold the baking paper in half, quarter, and again, and again until you have a long thin triangle.  


Align the point of the triangle with the middle of the tin and then cut the length to match the diameter of the cake tin.  It is easy on a removable tin, for all others just turn the tin over and measure the centre out from the base. 


Open out and you should have a rough circle that pretty much perfectly matches the base of your tin.  Quick, simple and non of that cutting out neat circles rubbish - we are not crafters, we are bakers!

Old-Fashioned Cherry Cake
by Delia Smith

Makes a large 18cm cake

200g glace cherries
175g butter (room temp)
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs (lightly whisked)
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
75g ground almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line an 18cm cake tin-both base and sides - butter first, then lining paper, use the butter bush to push the lining paper down.  Notice how tall the lining stands above the cake tin.  This is very important as you want a tall cake when cooked.

Start with the cherries - this is the messy time consuming part.  Slice each cherry in half and then in to quarters.  Put to one side.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the paddle and beat, on high, until light - about 4 minutes.


With the mixer running on medium-high slowly add in the egg.  Allow time for the mixer to incorporate.  Remove the bowl from the mixer when done.


Sift the flour and baking powder in to the mixer bowl.  Using a large spoon mix the flour in quickly yet carefully.  Add in the two thirds of the cherries, milk, extract and almonds.  Mix completely.

Transfer to the baking tin and smooth out.  Scatter over the remaining cherries and gently push in to the mixture.

Bake for 1 hour, until the top of the cake is springy to touch.  You can just make out the extra rise in the baked version - without the lining paper this would have been a mess!


Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before turning out.  Leave to cool completely and store in an air-tight tin.  The almonds will mean this cake keeps well - at least a week if kept in a suitable tin.

Serve with tea or coffee, enjoy.