Ahhhh cherries. Cherries, for me, are one of those fruits that I eat only occasionally but absolutely love them every time. When ripe, cherries burst with flavor and juice, making it the perfect snacking fruit. I normally never cook cherries but I decided to experiment and roast the fruit with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. The result was a flavorful bowl of spiced roasted cherries that make a lovely topping for yogurt, burrata, and even cake. Whip up a quick almond cake with spiced roasted cherries and cream cheese frosting and that's what you got here! Summer baking at its best.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Every fruit has a list of ingredients that it best pairs with. Cherries pair exceptionally well with almonds so I decided to make an almond cake. However, I'm not a big fan of almond extract so this recipe uses only a touch of the extract for just a subtle almond flavor. Use a combination of all-purpose flour and super-fine almond flour for the base and add your standard baking ingredients including sugar, milk, butter, and eggs.
I prefer using blanched super-fine almond flour as opposed to unblanched almond flour because of its lighter texture. Unblanched almond flour or almond meal still has the almond skins making a denser flour. Denser flour means denser cake.
Add the wet ingredients and dry ingredients to the batter, alternating between the two. Why can't we just add all of the flour at once or the milk? If you add all of the dry ingredients at once, you can over-mix the batter trying to incorporate all of the flour. Overmixing flour will activate the gluten and yield a tough cake. If you add all of the milk at once, it can cause the creamed butter and sugar to separate. There's a reason for everything!
Bake the cake until it's golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. While the cake is cooling, make the spiced roasted cherries. All you have to do is pit some cherries and toss it with honey, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and vanilla. Roast the fruit until softened and jammy. You might want to make a double batch of these cherries and top it on...everything...
Cool the cherries and make the final component, the cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting is probably my favorite type of frosting. It's rich, it's perfectly sweet, and it's so easy to make. Just beat together softened butter with cream cheese and add powdered sugar and vanilla.
Frost the cake and top it with the prepared cherries. For the finishing touch, sprinkle toasted sliced almonds on top.
And there you have it folks, almond cake with spiced roasted cherries and cream cheese frosting. A beautiful elegant dessert that has so many layers of flavors!
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