Cherries_2 

Of all the stone fruits, cherries are my very favourite. Come June and July, my thoughts turn to cherries again and again as the anticipation of their arrival builds. Before I know it, I’m enjoying fresh cherries harvested from our own trees or those of family and friends.

Growing up, we had a particularly beautiful cherry tree in our backyard. As lovely as the cherry blossoms were, I always enjoyed the days after they fell from the tree, when our entire backyard looked like a carpet of white and pink. When my father announced one day that the cherry tree was old and sick and would have to be cut down, it was a great loss indeed.

Thus far, the summer has been particularly kind to Southern Ontario. Fruits and vegetables abound and most gardeners will tell you that their gardens haven’t grown this well in years. It’s a small blessing in the middle of this large life. Be it a good or bad day, I can’t think of many things that match the simple, breathtaking beauty of a sweet cherry, warmed by the sun, exploding in your mouth. The flavour is like nothing else.

And just as I used to wait anxiously for the cherry blossoms to bloom and then gracefully fall, each summer, I wait anxiously for the ripe cherries to arrive so that I can make this cherry coffeecake. I came across the recipe for this cake several years ago. Since then, I cannot imagine cherry season passing us by without this glorious little cake gracing our family table.

I hope it will grace yours as well.

Ciao!

Cherry Coffeecake

Adapted from Scones, Muffins, and Tea Cakes:  Breakfast Breads and Teatime Spreads by Heidi H. Cusick.

Note:  This lovely little cookbook is one of those gems that you sometimes come across while perusing the sales table. (That’s how I found it!) It’s delightful with lots of pretty pictures and simple, yet elegant recipes. I highly recommend the book if you can find a copy!

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cherries (preferably red), washed and pitted
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  1. Thoroughly combine all of the topping ingredients in a bowl with a fork or with your fingers. Set aside.

For the cake:

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Either with a wooden spoon or with a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well.
  3. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  4. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the batter all at once and mix just until the ingredients are wet. Don’t over mix the batter.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. The batter will be a bit sticky and might be difficult to spread but don’t worry. Level it off as best you can.
  6. Sprinkle the prepared topping evenly over the batter.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
  8. Let cool completely before removing the cake from the pan.
  9. Enjoy!

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