Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

This is another dessert I made over the Christmas holidays.  It was a gluttonous time for me.  This was my favorite dessert that I ate.  That is high praise, because I ate desserts and treats for a week straight.

I have a few podcasts that I listen to regularly.  One is entitled "Stuff You Missed in History Class."  In November, I listened to an episode where they spoke to a woman about a novel she wrote on American cakes.  The book is aptly entitled, "American Cake."
I'm a big fan of food and history, so I asked my parents to give it to me for Christmas.  They were gracious enough to do so.

This is the only recipe I have tried so far, and it was fantastic.  The book is filled with other intriguing recipes like Martha Washington's great cake, black walnut cake, the blitz tort, date loaf cake, lemon and molasses spice marble cake, and Hawaiian Chantilly cake, just to name a few.  I want to make them all.

One of these cakes is going to be my birthday cake.  I just have to choose the best one.  I may have to try out a few beforehand to make sure I choose wisely.

I decided to start with this one because my parents had a few pounds of frozen tart cherries in their freezer that they needed to use.  Luckily, the recipe only requires three cups of cherries, so I ended up making it twice in one week.  It was that good.  The recipe suggested adding whipped heavy cream to the top.  For some unexpicable reason I didn't do that. 

The ingredients are 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar, 3 cups tart cherries, 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup whole milk.

For the cherry top, I melted six tablespoons of butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  I let the butter melt and combine with the brown sugar.  This took a couple of minutes.

I lined a nine by thirteen inch baking pan with parchment.  I poured the brown sugar and butter mixture into the bottom of the pan.  I spread it out evenly to cover the entire bottom of the pan.

I sprinkled the cherries in an even layer over the brown sugar and butter.

For the cake batter, I creamed together the three fourth cup of butter and sugar together for about four minutes.  The mixture became light and fluffy.

I separated the eggs.  I added the yolks one at a time into the batter.  I mixed well after adding each egg.

I mixed in the vanilla and almond extract.  Throughout the mixing process, I scraped the edges of the bowl with a spatula.

In another bowl, I added the flour, baking powder, and salt.  I whisked these ingredients together.

I mixed a third of the flour mixture into the batter.  I then mixed in half of the whole milk.

I repeated this process.  I added the last third of the flour mixture last.

I whipped the three egg white until stiff peaks formed.  This took a few minutes.

I folded a small amount of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it a little.

I then folded in the remaining egg whites.

I gently poured the batter evenly over the cherries.  I made sure the batter was level.

I baked the cake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees.  I baked this cake in the center rack.  I let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, I flipped it onto another dish and removed the parchment paper.  I let it cool a little more.  I ate this cake cold and warm.  At both temperatures, the cake was delicious.

The cherries were tart and jammy.  The sugar topping was sweet and caramelized. The brown sugar topping and cherries were great together.  The tartness and sweetness balanced one another out.

The cake was tender and light.  The juices from the cherries kept the cake moist and added flavor.

The cake had a subtle hint of almond.  It was toothsome, delicious, and homey.  

Overall, I give this  cake two thumbs up.  I wouldn't change a thing about the cake, though I would add a dollop of sweetened whip cream.

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