This post is sponsored by Appletiser
One of my fondest memories from my childhood is the family picnics we used to have throughout the Summer. My parents would pack us three children, two dogs and a veritable feast into the car and we would head off to a spot by the river where we could play in the water and the accompanying fields before stuffing our faces. I don't go on very many picnics anymore now that I am an adult, which is something that I need to fix as they are one of the most enjoyable parts of Summer.
Obviously a good picnic needs a lovely location; but the most important part is of course the food. We always used to take some crusty French bread, cheeses, hummus and salad to make sandwiches with, olives, crackers, crisps and dips for nibbling on, some sort of salad (usually potato or tabbouleh), fresh fruit and something sweet to finish with.
When Appletiser asked me to come up with a Summer picnic recipe to serve alongside their delicious drinks I knew that it was the something sweet that I wanted to make. I originally thought about making a layer cake, something along the lines of a Swedish Midsummer cake – layers of fatless sponge filled with whipped cream and strawberries. But as delicious as that would have been, I decided that for the purposes of a picnic it wasn't exactly portable and it wouldn't fare too well sitting out in the sun for hours. Instead, I decided to make these lovely little cherry almond cakes.
They are easy to make, can be made the day beforehand so that there is less prep to do on the day of the picnic, are quite sturdy so can be packed up into a tub to transport and won't suffer from being out in the sun. In addition, both almond and cherry flavours work really well with apple so they are perfect washed down with a refreshing glass of Appletiser.
I baked mine in little brioche and pudding moulds in which case the recipe will make eight cakes; but they can also be baked in cupcake cases in a muffin tin in which case you will get about twelve cakes (you might need more cherries if making cupcakes). The cakes are really moist due to the ground almonds and have a delicious almondy flavour with bursts of tangy cherry. The glaze is a simple, two-ingredient affair, just icing sugar and cherries (either fresh or defrosted frozen) which are blended together in a food processor. The beautiful colour is all natural from the cherries, no need to use any food colouring here!
Little Cherry Almond Cakes
- 175 g (¾ cup) softened butter
- 240 g (1 cup + 2tbsp) caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 130 g (1 cup + 1tbsp) ground almonds
- 130 g (1 cup + 1tbsp) plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 16 cherries pitted and halved
- 60 g (2oz) pitted cherries (about 8 cherries) (I used defrosted frozen)
- 250 g (2 + ½ cups) icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cake cases or use silicone cake moulds – grease them thoroughly.
- Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Mix together the ground almonds, flour and baking powder and lightly fold in to the butter mixture. Stir in the almond extract.
- Divide the mixture between the cases or moulds and press a couple of halved cherries into the surface of each so that they are just covered with batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool until they can comfortably be handled then either transfer the cake cases to a wire rack, or carefully turn the cakes out of the silicone moulds if using and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Once the cakes are cold, make the icing. Place the icing sugar and pitted cherries into a food processor and blend until smooth. The icing should be thick but pourable; if it is too runny then add more icing sugar and blend again; if it is too thick then add a couple more cherries and blend.
- Spoon the icing over the tops of the cakes and serve.
- The cakes will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container but once they have been iced they are best eaten the same day.
This post is sponsored by Appletiser, thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to continue doing what I love – playing with food and making a mess of my kitchen.