Makes one 10-inch cake; serves 8 to 10
Ripe black cherries from Ixtassou in rugged French Basque country are picked by the bushel every summer and immediately preserved for use throughout the year. Sour cherry preserves are served often with cheese and bread, or as a filling in this moist, rich cake. Use sour cherry preserves made in France, if you can find them.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup sour cherry preserves
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1. Place an oven rack on the middle shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch cake pan or spring-form pan with nonstick vegetable-oil cooking spray.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
3. Sift the cake flour, salt, and baking powder together and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into this butter mixture until a soft dough form and no white streaks of flour remain.
4. Spread half the batter evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Stir the almond extract, if using, into the cherry preserves. Spoon the cherry preserves over the batter, spreading it within 2 inches of the border.
5. Drop the remaining batter by large spoonfuls over the preserves. Spread the batter carefully over the jam to the edge of the pan. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if using.
6. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Unmold the cake and dust with confectioners sugar.
Simple French Desserts
By Jill O'Connor
Color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created June 2000
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