Low Sugar Cherry and Almond Cake

Leftovers, excessive ingredients from the last bake, etc; everyone has an abundance of those, we're no exception. I've learned to come to terms with that problem of mine and have been trying to cook or bake according to what's available in the kitchen, before doing new grocery shopping. This way I could keep wastage to a minimal as well as saving some unnecessary expenses.

As of today, I noticed that we've got some almond strips, icing sugar, glacé cherries, and some Essential Waitrose lemon juice in a bottle (we don't really consume lemons quickly enough so I won't buy fresh ones often). Not to mention that I've just got ourselves 2 boxes of Waitrose natural glacé cherries recently, for a really great promotion price (oh yes that brand is my biggest weakness, but I was thinking about Christmas preparation 😀).

I think it's high time I try baking a cherry and almond cake.

There are tonnes of cherry and almond cake recipes flying around online and in some of our cook books, but they are vastly different from each other in terms of ingredients' ratio. To confuse myself the least, I've adopted the classic cake recipe and made some adjustments based on the key ingredients for cherry and almond cake. 

The cake batter:
200g unsalted butter, softened
80g fine brown sugar (I've cut sugar right down, since I'm going to glaze the top with icing sugar)
3 eggs
180g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
100g ground almond
80g glacé cherries (for this I've used the normal ones, which I have leftover from before)

The topping:
6 Waitrose natural glacé cherries, halved (I find wholes are a little too much, and I'm cheap)
Almond strips (I've used about half of a 60g pack)
Icing sugar
Essential Waitrose lemon juice

The bake:
  1. Rinse and dry the glacé cherries, cut into 8's then dip in a little flour (to prevent them sinking to the bottom during the bake), set aside.
  2. As my almond strips have been in the kitchen for a while, I've given them a little toast in a pan (without oil) for a few minutes to rid of any staleness. Set aside to cool.
  3. Lightly grease a 20cm glass casserole dish and set aside. I prefer it to a cake tin because I won't need to line it with baking parchment and there's no problem turning out the cake; not to mention that it's also super easy to clean.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl till it's light and fluffy (I've used a handheld mixer this time so it took just a few minutes on the lowest setting), then beat in the eggs on by one.
  5. Sift the plain flour and baking powder together, then gradually fold the mixture in to the creamed butter mix. I do try to do it very lightly to avoid knocking the air out too much and generating gluten which would make the cake dense and probably hard.
  6. Even before the flour is completely blended in, add in the ground almond (I find that helps with the mixing and not work the gluten too easily), followed by the glacé cherries.
  7. The batter is not exactly runny so it is then spooned into the greased glass casserole dish. Level the surface and bake in the oven at preheated 180ºC. As this is my first time baking this cake, I've set it to an hour but started checking the bake after 40 minutes. When poked a metal skewer through and it came out clean, it's done. It took just about 50 minutes (although some recipes I've seen have asked for an hour or more baking time).
  8. Take the cake out and cool for about half an hour before turning it out onto the cake stand (or a large flat dish). 
  9. Whilst cooling the cake, mix 3 tablespoons of icing sugar with the lemon juice to make a loose but not runny paste. I've dribbled the lemon juice in gradually whilst stirring until I get the consistency. It should be runny enough to fall from the spoon slowly.
  10. Once the cake is completely cool, arrange the cherries around the edge then loosely scatter the almond strips over the top (ideally it should be almond flakes but strips is all I have). Dribble the icing paste all over and leave to set.

The result:
It really isn't too bad, given that it's my first attempt 😆
And I'm glad that I've reduced the sugar used in the batter, because it really is sweet enough!

Next on the agenda: 2-mile run for the next few days and give some of the cake away.


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