Bottoms up: cherry & almond cake

The other weekend I went to see Swallows and Amazons, which I was a bit apprehensive about because I like to visualise book characters as they appear in my head. However, John and Susan were sufficiently bland to not leave too deep imprints on my brain (still working on Nancy and Peggy.) One of my favourite moments is when the Walkers are tearing off chunks of the familiar fruitcake – it evokes that feeling of satisfaction after devouring something when you were particularly hungry.

I wanted to bake a cake to welcome my sister who was coming home and I thought I’d use the cherry/almond combi cos sticky cherries with the sweet nutty flavour is wild. I used a Mary Bez recipe and it’s quite a large cake, but it was easy to make and the crumb was super buttery. It was the sort of cake you’d send out with some peeps going on a really long walk. Although, it did go down incredibly well with a cup of T. I particularly liked the crisp crust as it went beautifully with the melty sponge and squashy cherries.


One conundrum that did arise from baking this cake took the form of glacé cherries. Which sunk to the bottom of the cake. I tried to take precautionary measures by chopping the cherries up. However, it was not sufficient. Our friend Mary instructed me to wash the glacé cherries, but this was too extreme: it is unfathomable to wash the sticky, scrumptious syrup off the cherries to ensure they remain afloat. A cake with a cherry-studded bottom and glacé cherry juice cake is a lot more appetising to me than a cake that has suspended cherries but is devoid of juice. It’s up to you to decide what sort of bum your cake has. I also went rogue on the recipe by adding some almond extract; sheer decadence, but the almond flavour was sublime.


If you want a cake with a red derrière, an almighty almond kick and one that you would eat with your hands, you may like to try this one.

200g glacé cherries

275g self-raising flour

75g ground almonds

2 level tsp baking powder

225g soft butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp almond extract

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C (140 if fan oven.) Grease a 20cm cake tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. Cut the cherries into quarters (rinsing optional.)
  3. Measure all the ingredients into one bowl and beat for 1 min to mix thoroughly, then fold in the cherries.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, level the surface.
  5. Bake for 1 ½ hours to 1 ¾ hours until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool.


I hope you enjoy it!


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