Fresh cherry & lemon drizzle

Fresh cherry drizzle cake

I love cherries but hate cherry cake. Nearly always made with horrid glacé cherries and with an amaretto after-taste I can’t think of anything worse. But I  do love fresh cherries and guess what? Cherries are currently in season and I’m in the mood for something sweet so I thought I’d have a go at making a fresh version with added lemon drizzle – because who doesn’t love a lemon drizzle? This cake is sweet,  fruity and perfect for yet another wet July afternoon – seriously what is up with the weather? I’m wearing a wooly jumper!


Fresh Cherry & lemon drizzle
Serves 8-10 / Hands on time 25 min / Total time 1hr 30 mins + cooling / V
You’ll need: 20cm cake tin, tin foil, electric hand whisk, cherry pitter (optional)
250g pitted fresh cherries
225g caster sugar
2 eggs
115g unsalted butter + extra for greasing
140ml semi-skimmed or whole milk
½ tsp vanilla essence
185g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
Drizzle
85g caster sugar
1 lemon


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ 350°F/gas mark 4. Grease the cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Put to one side.
2. Pit and de-stork the fresh cherries. If you have a cherry pitter (lucky you) keep the cherries whole. If you don’t (like me) you can click here to watch a very smug man pit cherries using a chopstick and bottle – which is what I’ll do next time. However, I didn’t know this at the time, so I used a sharp knife to cut the cherry all the way around from top to bottom, then twist the two halves apart in opposite directions – like you would with an avocado. If the cherry pit doesn’t pull away neatly from one half (mine didn’t) just roughly cut around the stone. You’ll be left with a mixture of cherry halves and smaller chopped cherry pieces which is fine.
3. Put the butter and the milk in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted. Once melted take off the heat to cool slightly.
4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the caster sugar for at least 2 mins until you have a very pale, creamy mixture and the whisk leaves a trail behind it.
5. Add the vanilla essence and the melted butter and milk slowly to the egg mixture and mix well with the electric whisk until combined.
6. Measure out the flour and the baking powder in a seperate bowl before sieving over the top. Fold in with a wooden spoon until just combined with minimal lumps – be careful not to overwork the mixture.
7. Pour into your cake tin (the mixture will be quite runny) and sprinkle all the cherries over on top – don’t worry, they will sink durning baking.
8. Bake in the oven for 35 mins. At this stage the cake will have formed a crust on the top. Carefully top the cake with a loose sheet of foil whilst still in the oven and continue to bake for a further 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 30 mins Meanwhile, make the drizzle by combining the juice of one lemon and the caster sugar.  Turn the cake out, prick all over with a skewer and evenly pour over the drizzle whilst still warm. Leave to set and cool fully before serving. This cake will last up to 5 days wrapped up in the fridge.

Fresh cherry drizzle cake

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian


 

Strawberry sponge ‘traycake’

Strawberry sponge traybake

This week I’ve been craving those little strawberry Tom and Jerry cakes, Remember those? Anyone born before 1984 in Britain should, but if you don’t, allow me to enlighten you. They were small, strawberry flavoured fairy cakes topped with strawberry icing and sugar-paper illustrations of Tom, Jerry and friends. They were deliciously artificial and came in a box ready for you to just add water. Sickly sweet and with a bright pink sponge, these tiny cakes featured in many a party bag in my youth and go hand-in-hand with other ‘wrong’ foods of the ’90s, such as Push Pops, Micro chips and Squeezit’s.
That being said, I’ve had a real hankering for them, so I’ve made a slightly more acceptable ‘grown-up’ version with real strawberry icing. They’re not quite the same, but perhaps that’s no bad thing, as I’m pretty sure the original mix wouldn’t even be classified as food today.


Strawberry sponge ‘traycake’
Makes 12 squares / Hands on time 30 mins  / Total time 50 mins + cooling / V
You’ll need: 25cm square cake tin, electric whisk and a food processor
110g soft unsalted butter + extra for greasing
110g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
110g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
Topping
Handful fresh strawberries, stalks removed and blended
50g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
6 fresh strawberries, sliced to decorate


TIP: This recipe is easily doubled if you fancy making a two tiered cake.


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4 and grease a 25cm square tin with butter. Line the bottom of the tin with baking paper and put to one side.
2. Measure out the self-raising flour in a small bowl and put to one side. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for 3 mins until light and fluffy. Crack in one of the eggs along with 1 tbs of the self-raising flour and mix with a spoon before whisking for a further 2 mins (adding flour prevents the mixture from curdling and mixing it with a spoon stops flour going everywhere). Once incorporated, add the second egg along with another tbs of the self-raising flour and repeat the process, although this time add the vanilla extract.
3. Add half a tsp of baking powder to the remaining self-raising flour and fold into the mixture using a wooden spoon, being careful not to overwork the batter. Spoon into the tin and spread the mixture out evenly using the back of a spoon to push it to the edges and smooth the surface. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins. Once baked, leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack.
4. Once the cake has cooled completely, make the icing by blending a handful of strawberries in a blender. In a small bowl whisk the butter until light and fluffy with an electric whisk for a couple of mins before adding 2 tbs of the pureed strawberries and 100g of icing sugar. Mix carefully with a spoon (to prevent icing flying everywhere) before whisking with an electric whisk until you have a light fluffy icing.
5. Spread the icing over the cake evenly and leave to set for 20 minutes before decorating with slices of fresh strawberries. Cut in to squares and serve immediately. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container. Consume within 3 days.


Strawberry sponge traybake

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian.