Sunday, 26 June 2011

Cherry, Almond & Coconut Cake

At the request of several readers, here's my adaptation of the wonderful old fashioned Cherry & Almond cake that I mentioned in my introduction 'a word on idle baking'. The only cake I knew how to cook until this spring, the one that started me on my idle baking odyssey. Fingers crossed it may inspire you to dip a toe into your own.

Serves 8

Adapted from the cake recipe in Joanna Isle's lovely little book from the 1980s, A Proper Tea buy the book on Amazon  
I've simply added coconut and flaked almonds to create a tasty crunchy nutty topping. The topping is adapted from a recipe at 

For the cake:
225g glace cherries
90g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
170g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
90g ground almonds
170g butter
half a tsp almond extract

1. Turn the oven to 160C (140C fan oven). Grease and line a baking tin (anything from 18 inch to 23 inch round tin should work).

2. Halve the glace cherries and roll them in a little extra flour, before putting them to one side. Rolling them in flour may stop them from all sinking to the bottom of the cake when it's baking (although, being an idle cook, I don't worry about that sort of thing).

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamed.

4. Add the first beaten egg to the creamed mixture, then sieve in a little of the flour and stir gently before adding the other 2 eggs, and the rest of the flour, salt, and almond extract a bit at a time.

5. Throw in the cherries, and ground almonds. Stir the cake mixture until the fruit and nuts are well combined into the batter. Don't do what I did this time and absent mindedly put the mixer speed on high, thereby breaking up some of the cherries. Stir them very gently by hand with a wooden spoon instead!

6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for approx 1 hour, until the top has browned and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave in the tin and put to one side for a moment while you quickly make the topping.

For the topping:

8 and a half tbsps demerara sugar
4 tbsps cold butter, chopped into smallish pieces
4 tbsps flaked almonds
3 tbsps dessicated coconut
extra glace cherries as decoration, optional

7. Mix the sugar and butter in a bowl. I used my fingers to rub them together, but then I like being messy. When the mixture is crumbly, fold in the coconut and almonds.

8. Back at the oven, turn the grill to medium. Spoon the topping onto the hot cake.

9. Carefully place the cake under the grill for 1-2 mins, until the topping is golden brown. Keep checking the cake under the grill - the topping will move from browning to burning very quickly. Alternatively you could place the cake back in the hot oven and continue baking until the topping is done.

10. When the topping is golden brown, take it out from under the grill and leave the cake to cool in its tin for 5 mins, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool for longer before serving. Put a few extra glace cherries ontop of the centre of the cake if you like.

This cake was idly baked to the sounds of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, combined with birdsong and newly hatched grasshoppers jumping in through the open window.


  1. Oh yummy yum!
    I can smell the coconut and almond ... your topping is the icing on this cake Flora. Served with fresh strong black coffee with a spoonful of double cream floating on the top. Whatever you do, don't stir!

  2. Thanks Dida, yes coffee or cream would go down well. Even though it's a very english cake, the topping reminds me of the type I used to see on cakes when I lived in Paris, very sweet and delicate. x

  3. This was great, even though I missed out the topping due to lack of supplies! T'was delicious

  4. Glad you liked it Frannie :) x


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