Life’s a bowl of cherries

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It’s been a luscious summer for fruit. The strawberries have been sweet right from the start; raspberries have been rich and tart; even supermarket nectarines and peaches have ripened properly and drip with juice once they’re ready to eat. And the cherries have been never-ending. We’ve had cherries from Oakchurch (our local fruit farm) for well over a month and all big, fat and juicy. At home we have a huge cherry tree just outside our back door which normally produces just enough pale cherries to feed the birds, but this year the crop was so large that the birds left plenty for us.

The bowl of beautiful bowl of fruit pictured above came from our big tree and went in to a New York Times torte. It got eaten before I had a chance to take a picture of the finished cake. The cake is so named because the recipe (I’m told) is re-printed year after year in the New York Times in response to constant reader requests. It’s simple, adaptable and delicious. It works well with cherries, plums, raspberries, cranberries (best mixed with some pears), nectarines, peaches – anything with juice and some acidity.

1 x 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin, greased and lined

700g cherries
100g butter
100g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
80g plain white flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Juice of ½ a lemon
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 dsp Icing sugar

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C
  2. Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour, baking powder, salt and beaten eggs. Mix well.
  3. Spoon the batter into greased and lined tin and arrange the pitted cherries on top
  4. Sprinkle with a little lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar depending on how sweet the fruit is.
  5. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the sponge is springy to touch
  6. Serve either warm or at room temperature with a big dollop of crème fraiche.