Friday, July 8, 2011

Sour Cherry Crumb Cake

I could kiss you right now Michael Sullivan. I really could. I could give you a big 'ole wet one for planting the beautiful cherry tree in the front yard of your home. The same home that would one day become ours.

I was totally unaware of the gift you left for us until it bore its beautiful red fruit, a most fantastic surprise. Now, for a few weeks each year we are blessed with a bountiful crop of sour cherries. And, what better to do with a bowl full of cherries than make sour cherry crumb cake.  Fooled you! You thought I was going to say pie.

Cherry pie along with a few other family favorites will probably be on the list of things to make this cherry season, but alas, the family demanded crumb cake. So, crumb cake it is.

I need to digress a bit here and apologize for all the cherry photos... I just couldn't resist. They are so darn photogenic. Any which way you position them, they look fantastic. Even my amateur level photography skills were able to get a few decent shots.... everyone should shoot cherries!

Alright, back to the crumb cake. This was top notch delicious! The flavor of the sour cherries is fresh, and not too tart. The cake portion is moist with the perfect texture to support the juicy cherries, and the brown sugar crumb is the cherry on top (pun intended folks)... the perfect sweetness for the tartness of the fruit. In my mind, this is a perfect summer breakfast treat. Heck, it is a perfect anytime treat. I can't wait to make this again. Wonderful!

I do have one note on this recipe. If you take a quick peak at the photo below you will notice that the cake portion is about an inch tall. This is where I kick myself for not taking the extra five minutes to wash my 9x13" pan that was coated with the remains of the previous night's lasagna. Curses! While it was still delicious out of my 8" square pan (with more cake per bite), it really is more suited to be made in a 9x13" pan. This way the cherry/crumb topping ratio is roughly equal to the cake portion. I actually found myself slicing my pieces in half lengthwise to get the perfect bite.

Happy Baking!
Jaime @ The Great Cake Company

Recipe adapted (with modifications) from Perfect Cake by Nick Malgieri  

Servings: About 24 (2-inch squares)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups fresh sour cherries, pitted (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
pinch of kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and position the rack in the center of the oven. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass 9x13-inch pan. You can use a metal pan, but the edges of the cake may turn brown and crispy.... this may be tasty option for some.

Combine all the ingredients except for the melted butter in a medium sized bowl. Mix to combine. Stir in the melted butter and rub give it a quick stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Use your fingers to rub the sugar mixture together to make course crumbs. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat for another 20 seconds, or until combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides as needed.

Decrease the mixer to its lowest setting and add half of the flour mixture. Mix until incorporated and then add the sour cream. Mix again until well incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well combined.

Scrape batter in the prepared pan and  and level the top with a spatula. Evenly distribute the cherries on top of the batter, but do not press them in. Scatter the crumb topping over the cherries taking care to cover the entire surface evenly.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is firm and the crumb topping is nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container.


  1. amateur level photography skills??? your pics are always gorgeous! i'm always amazed at the perfect-ness (?!) of cherries! beautiful post :)

  2. Don't apologize for those cherry photos! They're just beautiful, and they drew me in right away!


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