If you frequent my blog, you’ll notice that I’m not much of a baker; I prefer savory to sweet. But it’s Patrick’s birthday and I wanted to bake him a special birthday treat.
I thumbed through a few of my cookbooks, and this cake jumped out at me, instantly caught my eye — Cherry Pistachio Almond Coconut Cake. The intermingling flavors sounded intriguing and what better way to showcase fresh, summer cherries.
It turned out better than I could have imagined. I don’t usually get excited about cake, but WOWEE this is one delicious cake. It’s not your typical fluffy cake with sugary sweet icing. It has layers of flavor, it’s complex, it’s a stunner. A cake like this makes me want to do more baking. This is my new go-to dessert for my next family event or social function.
The cake has a wonderful sweet-tart quality from the fresh cherries, but you could make this cake with other fruit, such as purple or yellow plums, raspberries, or, perhaps, a combination of the two.
This cake is easy to make. It’s base is comprised of ground almonds, pistachios, dried coconut, flour, eggs, butter. Just mix all the ingredients and then layer on the toppings, first the cherries, then a little sugar, and finally some chopped pistachios. And bake. It’s best when served warm out of the oven, so dig in.
Now I just need to decide — with or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? I’m thinking, definitely ice cream.
Couldn’t find any ground almonds, so I bought whole, raw almonds and ground them in a food processor. To get them a bit finer thereafter, I then gave them a whiz in a spice/coffee grinder.
An interesting tidbit about ‘raw‘ almonds that I recently learned — all almonds grown in the United States are heat sterilized/pasteurized. However, almonds from other countries do not have to be pasteurized to be sold in the U.S. (a loophole of sorts). I found some raw (unpasteurized) almonds [from Spain] at a nearby food co-op.
A cherry pitter makes pitting the cherries a snap…
Fruits and vegetables that naturally, the key word being naturally, stain your hands such a vibrant hue of red, have the added benefit of being good for your health. Cherries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are responsible for the red color of cherries. Anthocyanins are a nutritional powerhouse. And of course, cherries taste great.
Layer the pitted cherries over the batter. I just tore them in half by hand…
Sprinkle with a little extra sugar…
Bake and enjoy while still warm…
Cherry Pistachio Almond Coconut Cake
Adapted from Honey & Co.
3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) sugar + 3/4 ounces (20 grams) for topping
3 1/4 ounces (90 grams) brown or coconut sugar
6 1/4 ounces (180 grams) ground almonds
1 ounce (30 grams) ground pistachios
1 1/2 ounces (45 grams) dessicated coconut
1 3/4 ounces (50 grams) *self rising flour
2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
10 1/2 ounces (300 grams) cherries, pitted and halved
1 3/4 ounces (50 grams) roughly chopped pistachios for topping
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a 9″ spring form pan.
Mix the sugar, brown or coconut sugar, ground almonds, ground pistachios, coconut, self-rising flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and eggs. Gently mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the pre-greased pan.
Drop the pitted, halved cherries over the batter. Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 ounce of sugar. Top with the roughly chopped pistachios.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cake is set and golden. Allow the cake to cool in the pan, as it needs time to settle. Then gently remove my running a knife around the edges. Enjoy!
The cake will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.
*Note: To make self-rising flour, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Omit the salt in the recipe.
**Note: The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon ground mahleb (the ground pit of the sour cherry). I omitted it because I didn’t have any on hand. You can order it online at Penzeys Spice Shop.