Wednesday 6 October 2021

cherry and almond loaf

Since I revisited the bakewell tart last month, I've been preoccupied with all things frangipane. This recipe is in essence, a bakewell in loaf form. It's studded with fat black cherries, from a can, don't judge they're perfect, and draped in sour cream and almond icing. It's giving me Christmas vibes. This style of icing is always going to be sweet, if it's not your thing, leave it off, but sprinkle the batter with the raw sliced almonds before you pop it in to bake, and once it's cooled, a dusting of icing sugar if you feel so inclined. This cake is super moist, it will travel well for a picnic, but is perfect at home with a cup of tea or coffee.

My loaf pan is long and narrow, 25cm x 7.5cm x 7.5cm, but any small to medium sized loaf pan will work, although you may need to adjust the cooking time. If your tin is larger, start to check if it's ready after 50 minutes, insert a skewer (or piece of uncooked spaghetti) into the centre of the cake, it will come out clean if the cake is baked. If the skewer is coated in wet cake mix, give it another 10 minutes and check again. If there are just a few damp crumbs sticking to your skewer, check in 5 minute increments until it's cooked. A smaller tin will take longer to cook your cake, but don't go too small, it shouldn't be more than 3/4 full with batter. I whipped this up in minutes in my magimix food processor, I've been using it so much recently it's living on the bench, I'm campaigning for a butler's pantry...

cherry and almond loaf

180g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
70g plain flour, plus an extra tablespoon to dust the cherries
1tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
180g butter, soft at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing
3 jumbo eggs, 165g shelled
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 x 425g can stoneless black cherries
25g sliced almonds
almond and sour cream icing, recipe below

• preheat oven to 170ºC, 150ºC fan
• drain the cherries in a sieve, then pat dry with kitchen paper, set aside
• tip the sliced almonds onto a lined baking tray, place in the oven for 10 minutes until fragrant and golden
• grease a loaf pan and line with baking paper, set aside
• add the caster sugar, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter, eggs and almond extract and blitz until smooth, 20-30 seconds
• toss the cherries in the extra flour to lightly coat
• remove the blade from the processor, and use a spatula to fold half of the cherries through the batter
• pour into the loaf pan, and gently press the remaining cherries into the batter
• bake for 60-65 minutes until puffed and golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, remove from the oven and leave on a rack to cool
• when completely cool, drizzle the icing over the loaf, and sprinkle with the flaked almonds 
• store in an airtight container for up to 3 days

sour cream and almond icing

100g icing mixture
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp warm water
couple of drops of almond extract

• mix the sour cream, warm water and almond extract together until smooth
• sift the icing mixture into a small bowl, make a well in the centre and add 3/4 the sour cream and almond mixture, stir, gently at first, until combined and lump free. The icing will be quite thick, so it can hug your cake, add the extra liquid if required then use right away, before it starts to set.

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