Sour cherries are still in season so we can enjoy their abundance and make cherry pies and cakes, pancakes or preserves.
Raw or cooked cherries not only taste fantastic, but also are an excellent source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and offer multiple health benefits. The regular consumption of cherries is proven to reduce serious conditions such as gout, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or muscle-related sports injuries. They also contain fiber, Vitamin C and potassium good for the heart and blood pressure. The sour cherry juice helps with insomnia aand may promote brain health.
A few words on tart cherry history: it extends back to the Caspian Sea where they were cultivated by early Persians and brought back to Greece. When the Romans invaded Greece, they discovered the sour cherry, and brought them to Western Europe and Britain. Today, sour cherries remain popular in Iranian cuisine, and often the best place to find fresh sour cherries is in Persian and Middle Eastern groceries.
The cake, in this version gluten free – made with a combination of almond meal and oat flour, is very easy, quick to make and always comes out delicious. When the cherry season is over, you can replace cherries with blueberries or a combination of blueberries and red currants. The result will be equally mouthwatering!
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 cup organic oat flour
- 4 eggs
- 1½ sticks of butter, preferably European brand, cut in small pieces and softened
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- 1½ pounds of sour cherries, pitted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 packet Alsa baking powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
Note: I used one pink pack of Alsa baking powder, known in France as levure chimique or levure alsacienne. Unlike most American brands, Alsa is single-acting, which means it creates the gas needed for leavening as soon as it is mixed with liquid ingredients. If this ingredient is not available, you can use 4 flat tsp regular baking powder instead.
Lightly butter the spring form pan. In a medium bowl, with an electric beater beat 4 eggs with sugar for about 4-5 minutes, until thick and fluffy. Add vanilla and stir well until fully incorporated.
In a small bowl mix both flours, salt, Alsa baking powder and regular baking powder. Add half of the flour mixture to the beaten eggs stirring it with a whisk, until it’s smooth and uniform. With a spoon, add half of the softened butter cut into small pieces and stir well again. Add the remaining flour and butter to the dough. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
Tart cherries are quite juicy and when used raw will make the cake too moist. I prefer to first lightly cook them for a few minutes to let them secrete some of their juice. Place pitted sour cherries in a medium pot and heat up for about 3-4 minutes frequently stirring. At the end of this process the cherries should still keep their shape and firmness. Don’t overcook. You can reserve the juice and use it for another purpose.