I am always on the lookout for recipes that use up egg whites as I hate to waste them and after making blackberry ice cream the other day I had four whites leftover that needed to be used. These cherry cakes were perfect. They are made using a slightly odd method, meringue is stirred into batter that is made with the addition of natural yoghurt, but it results in a very light, delicate, moist cake and also helps prevent the fruit from sinking.
I used glacé cherries because Damian loves them, I had some in the cupboard and they work well with the almond extract in the cake; but they can easily be replaced with whatever you feel like or have to hand, fresh blueberries, chopped dried apricots and chocolate chunks are just a few suggestions.
I personally feel that icing these would be slight overkill, they are sweet and moist enough to not need it, but if you can't do without then a simple glace icing made from icing sugar and water or lemon juice would suffice.
- 4 egg whites
- 200g (2 cups) icing sugar
- 75g (⅓ cup) soft unsalted butter
- 150g (5 + ¼ oz) plain natural yoghurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 275g (2 + ¼ cups) plain flour
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- 200g (7 oz) glacé cherries
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Rinse the cherries to remove any excess syrup, pat dry with kitchen roll, chop into halves or quarters, place in a bowl and sprinkle with about half a tablespoon of flour, stir to coat and set aside. (This seems like a bit of a faff but it helps to stop the cherries from sinking to the bottom)
In a large, scrupulously clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric beater until fluffy, then gradually add half of the icing sugar and continue to beat until it forms a soft meringue, you want it at soft peaks stage, not stiff.
In another large bowl, beat together the butter, yoghurt and vanilla and almond extracts, you can use the same beater as for the egg whites, no need to wash it. Add the remaining icing sugar and 100g of the flour to the butter mixture and beat until thick, smooth and thoroughly combined.
Using a large metal spoon or a spatula, beat a third of the meringue into the butter mixture, follow with a third of the remaining flour sifted with the baking powder, fold in the rest of the meringue and flour in stages, you don't need to be too gentle, don't leave any pockets of flour, but try not to knock all of the air out.
Once everything is combined, fold in the cherries and divide the mixture between the paper cases, bake for 20-30 minutes until they are well risen and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
(Adapted from Short and Sweet, by Dan Lepard)