I’d accept the argument that when you buy a carton of picked-this-morning, super plump, red juice-running-down-your-chin cherries, it’s best just to pop the suckers in your mouth and enjoy them the way nature intended.
But then again, everyone loves a good cake. Especially a good old-fashioned cake. And especially a cake scented with sweet, sweet almond and dotted with the deepest, darkest, prettiest Morello cherries that man can grow.
My recommendation? Buy a carton to snack on and to have a pit-spitting contest with, then buy a second carton to bake this cake:
Hardanger Cherry-Almond Cake
It’s easy and straightforward, kind of like all the best things in life- coloring books, riding a bike, hot dogs on the grill.....
I’ll bet you a carton of the best Hardanger cherries that you have a majority of the ingredients for this cake in your cupboard as we speak. Sugar? Flour? Almond extract? Baking powder and baking soda? A sack of sliced almonds? Yea, I thought so. Double check that you have the eggs and sour cream before picking up the cherries from the store (or even better, from the farmer’s market or roadside stand) and we’re ready to go!
I gave this cake the powdered sugar treatment, but feel free to doll it up a bit with a scoop of good ice cream or some freshly whipped cream. Also- if you’re having trouble finding some fresh cherries (or just don’t want to put on the shoes and pants required to go to the store), go ahead and use some frozen or canned cherries- but you may want to thicken them up with some cornstarch before adding them to the batter.
Hardanger Cherry-Almond Cake
Hardanger Morell- og Mandlekake
*makes one- round 10” cake
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick/115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240g) sour cream
1 1/2 lb. (680g) fresh, pitted cherries (alternately, frozen or canned cherries thickened with a little cornstarch)
1/2 cup (2 ounces/ 50g) thinly sliced almonds, toasted
*powdered sugar, ice cream or whipped cream to serve
1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175C. Butter a 10-inch springform pan.
2. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light. Add eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat well. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Mix half of dry ingredients into butter mixture. Mix in sour cream, then remaining dry ingredients.
3. Pour 2/3 of batter (about 2 cups) into prepared pan. Drop cherries by tablespoons evenly over batter. Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over pie filling. Using back of spoon, carefully spread batter over filling. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on rack. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and store at room temperature.)