I first made this Cherry & Almond Cake about five years ago. Since then it's been a real hit and always well received. What makes it better, is that the flavours develop over time so whilst it's delicious eating on the day it's made, this cake is just as tasty a day or two later.
We've used Opies Cocktail Cherries with Maraschino Liqueur, as for me, they deliver so much more flavour than a glace cherry. The Opies cherries are steeped in a Marashcino Liqueur which has a gorgeous, delicate almondy taste. And, this only makes the cake better. Give it a try - family, friends and work colleagues will love it. Oh, apart from those with a nut allergy. Obviously, it's not wise to give it to them ....
This is quite a standard 'cake' recipe, so is a good beginners cake recipe. The only thing that could go wrong is that the cherries all sink to the bottom of the cake - meaning that when you cut into it, the occasion is a bit of a damp squib, complete with soggy cherry bottom. We suggest that you coat the cherry halves in flour before you add to the cake mix. This is supposedly to ensure that the cherries don't do the dreaded sink and remain 'suspended' throughout the cake. We can only go from our own baking experience - and this quick hack has never let us down yet.
100g soft Butter
175g Caster Sugar
2 tsp Almond Essence
3 Eggs, beaten
75g Flaked Almonds
100g Plain Flour
100g Self Raising Flour
200g Opies Cocktail Cherries, drained and halved
Preheat the oven to 160°C / Gas 3. Line a 20cm deep cake tin (to make a round cake) or a 28cm x 22cm tin (to make a tray bake) with non-stick baking paper.
Place the cut, halved cherries in a small bowl and coat with a tablespoon of flour. Make sure they're well coated and leave to the side.
Cream together the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy. Then, stir in the almond essence. Gradually add in the eggs, beating them into the mixture. If your mixture looks as though it's starting to curdle, bring it back by adding a tablespoon of flour to the mix. Stir in 60g of flaked almonds and then gently fold in both of the flours and the cherries.
Spoon the mix into the tin and level out. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining flaked almonds. If you like a few more to make a real crunchy almond top, then we're not going to tell :)
Bake in the centre of the oven for around 1 hour 10 mins until the cake is golden and a skewer comes out clean. If you're making this in a tray bake tin, then you will need to reduce the bake time accordingly.
Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Before serving, and this is purely personal, dust with a little icing sugar.