April 18, 2012

sour cherry coffee cake


This was my contribution to a party our friend Jaskie hosted last week at his new apartment in the Mission. The night included a really good lentil/farro soup and a remarkable Texas-style lightning and thunder storm (rare in SF), and we also got to meet some fun new people. It was great!

I wanted to make something with last summer's sour cherries sitting in our freezer -- picked, processed, and schlepped down from Washington state by Mark's parents just for us, we're so lucky -- and after a little googling, I settled on a basic coffee cake recipe from Lottie and Doof. Since I was working with frozen cherries, I defrosted them and drained off most of the liquid before starting the cake. And instead of buying buttermilk, I used the equivalent amount of regular milk plus 2 drops of white vinegar. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written.

The sour cherry coffee cake tasted pretty good on the first night -- rich cake, tart cherries, a buttery streusel topping, how could this be bad, it can't -- but I believe its true calling is to be nibbled on with a cup of black coffee. The bottom layer of cake is sweet and a tad on the dry crumbed-side (not in a bad way; this is just that kind of cake), and it really benefits from ... oh man, I don't know why I feel compelled to explain this right now. It's coffee cake, after all. It tastes good with coffee!

If I had any complaint about this cake, it's that there are not enough cherries. For the cherry-loving fool I married, the proportion of cake to cherry was too high. Sour cherry coffee cake should have more than 4 cherries to a slice, no? Next time, I think I'll scatter 1 or 2 cups of cherries on the bottom of the pan, then scoop in the cake batter, then add 2 cups of cherries, then top with streusel. I'll be sure to update when I try this out. And try this out we will, for we have many sour cherries to use up before we move.