“A Cheery Way with the Cherry”

July 20, 2015


Gourmet, July 1977

Not quite sure how I feel about this.  This article, entitled simply "Cherries" opens with the picture above.  They're sour cherries.  And yet every single one of the "cheery ways with the cherry" calls for sweet cherries.  Kind of a disappointment. But I've always had a soft spot for upside down cakes, so I'm going to try making the upside down cherry cake, below.  Only I'm going to use sour cherries. ( I'm not planning to change the amount of sugar – it looks sweet enough.)

 I'll let you know how it turns out. 



The cover on this issue, in case you're interested.  As you can plainly see, part of it has disappeared.



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  • Dear Ruth – Hope the cake turns out great. If it doesn’t, may I tempt you to try my Sour Cherry and Almond Upside Down Cake recipe? It is my absolute favorite recipe from my (Turkish) cookbook. The cake batter is prepared in a food processor! It takes 2 minutes flat. My recipe has almost twice the amount of cherries. For the fruit layer, I cook the cherries with sugar, drain them and reserve the syrup to use as a glaze after the cake cools. If you’d like, I can share the recipe (in English, of course).

  • Ruth Reichl says:

    Dear Cenk Sonmezsoy,
    Yes! I want that recipe. It sounds fantastic!
    Today’s not a good baking day – very hot and quite sultry. But as soon as the weather breaks, out come the sour cherries.
    Thanks so much.

  • Dear Ruth – I’m very happy to hear you’re excited. Below is the recipe and a link to a photo of the cake. Hope you like it!
    Sour Cherry and Almond Upside Down Cake
    Makes 8 servings
    Fruit layer and glaze
    5+1/4 cups (725 g/1.6 pounds) fresh pitted sour cherries (from about 1.9 pounds unpitted sour cherries with stems)
    2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
    3/4 cup (105 g) all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
    1+1/2 cups (150 g) finely ground almonds
    1+1/2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon (2 g) fine sea salt
    1 stick + 3 tablespoons (150 g) unsalted butter, cut into large pieces and softened
    3 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon (5 g) pure vanilla extract
    To make the fruit layer and glaze, cook sour cherries and sugar in a high-sided large skillet over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and the sugar dissolves completely, for about 10 minutes, stirring gently so as not to break up the cherries. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the juices are thickened but still fluid, for 15-20 minutes. Transfer the cherries with their juices into a mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and set aside to drain completely, shaking the strainer gently to help drain the juices as needed.
    Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F/160° C.
    Butter the bottom of an 8-inch round pan, line the bottom with a parchment round and wrap a dampened cake strip around the pan. I highly recommend using a cake strip to prevent a domed top, which may cause the fruit layer to crack after the cake is inverted onto the serving plate.
    To make the cake, put the flour, sugar, ground almonds, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and process until well blended, about a minute. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the dough gathers around the metal blade, about a minute. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract with a fork until blended. Add the egg mixture to the dough and process until completely incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. You will have a very thick batter.
    Arrange the drained sour cherries in a tightly-packed single layer on the bottom of the pan. Scrape the batter on top of the cherries and smooth the top with a small metal offset spatula.
    Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, for 55 to 60 minutes.
    Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, about an hour. Pressing firmly against the pan, run a small knife around the edge to loosen the cake, invert onto a serving plate and remove the parchment round on top.
    Skim off the foamy layer of the sour cherry glaze with a spoon and discard. Apply a generous amount of glaze on top of the cherries with a pastry brush and serve.
    Transfer the remaining glaze into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. In the following days, you can use the extra glaze to refresh the fruit layer with extra glaze after warming it in a small saucepan over low heat until fluid. You can also use it to make sour cherry lemonade – whisk 2 parts sour cherry glaze, 3 parts water and 3 parts freshly-squuezed lemon juice and pour into tall glasses filled with crushed ice.
    The cake will keep, wrapped airtight, at room temperature for up to 4 days.
    Photo: http://goo.gl/6rqd4I