Simple Cherry Cake

My very first job was with the Civil Engineering Office in my hometown. It was a time when young women were secretaries rather than engineers, and the office was very male dominated. It was also a time when single women working for the cities were asked for the first time whether they wanted to have the name plaque outside their office doors changed to Mrs (Frau) instead of Ms (Fräulein).

I was very lucky that the men in my department were throughout gentlemen and did not behave like entitled chauvinists like I encounter these days, even though we’re supposed to live in an age where equality should be lived. And because they were so nice and pleasant to work with, I liked to bring my baking experiments to the office, which were always very much appreciated. To top it all, some of the men baked, too, and brought in their baked goods.

In those days I liked trying out baking recipes from magazines, and another great source of recipes was my then best friend (we’re still friends to this day, but I think you can have more than one best friend along the way). This cherry cake recipe was one of hers, and I haven’t made it in a very long time, I guess because I like coming up with my own new ideas these days.

Today I decided to make this really simple but very delicious cake again. I just fancied something simple instead of creating an elaborate recipe of my own. Yes, I could have made this into lovely little cupcakes, but I had a kitchen cupboard clean-out last night and found these cute mini paper baking thingies so I used those. This recipe is for one 24 cm Ø round cake tin, I was able to fit the batter into three of those paper moulds.

The simplicity of this cake isn’t all that I like about it, of course. It contains ground almonds but due to the whipped egg whites it’s quite light inside for that type of cake, and the cherries lend it just the right amount of moisture.

My friend’s original recipe uses wholemeal flour, which I don’t like for baking cakes, so I used plain white flour. The recipe also says to use either ground almonds or hazelnuts, but as I’m going to take two of these cakes to work tomorrow I decided on almonds; you never know with allergies, but it seems more people are allergic to hazelnuts rather than almonds.

This recipe also uses margarine instead of butter, and after my mother’s damson cake recipe turned out so well with margarine, I decided to stick to the recipe here, too.

Simple Cherry Cake

  • Servings: 12 - 16 using 24 Ø tin
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250 margarine
100 g (wholemeal) flour
150 g sugar
100 g finely ground almonds or hazelnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
5 eggs, separated
100 g grated chocolate (milk or dark)
1 tsp baking powder
1 jar sour (morello) cherries
icing sugar to decorate

Strain cherries into a sieve/colander, catching the juice if you want to use it for something else.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites until stiff and set aside.

In a second bowl, mix together margarine, sugar and egg yolks until creamy. Add flour, baking powder, almonds, cinnamon and chocolate and mix well, then add whipped egg whites, carefully folding it in.

Pour batter in a 24 cm Ø spring-clip tin – or alternatively into several smaller paper baking moulds – and top with cherries, pressing them into the batter a little.
[I did not butter my paper baking tins, and it turned out it wasn’t necessary as the batter contains quite a lot of fat, so the cake moulds were quite oily on the bottom outside. If you use paper moulds, make sure to place baking paper underneath to absorb that oil.]

Bake on medium shelf at 200°C / 390°F (non-fan)
– for 60 minutes if using spring-clip tin and making 1 large cake [cake browns quickly on top, so check and maybe reduce heat along the way]
– for 15 minutes if using paper moulds and making several small cakes, then reduce heat to 180°C / 350°F and bake for another 20 minutes [but do check colour]

If a wooden skewer comes out clean after sticking it into the cake(s), it’s done. Let cool and serve slightly warm or completely cooled, decorated with icing sugar.