Cherry Almond Coffee Cake

  • Serves: Makes 8 to 12 servings
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 375
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  • Comments: 0

Cherry coffee cakes (Meggyes Piskóta) like this are beloved in Hungary. There, the cherries are usually left unpitted so the stones can add their subtle almond-like flavor to the batter--no one seems to mind spitting out the pits. Here, pitted fresh cherries would probably be best, or use frozen cherries. My version uses ground almonds in the batter.
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The cake can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature.

INGREDIENTS
Softened butter and dried bread crumbs, for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sliced natural almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 pound sweet cherries, pitted (preferably fresh, or use 12 ounces frozen cherries, unthawed, and bake for a few more minutes)
Powdered sugar, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Butter a 13- X 9-inch baking pan, coat with the bread crumbs, and tap out the excess.

2. Process the flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until the almonds are very finely chopped, almost a powder; set aside.

3. Beat the butter with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. One at a time, beat in the yolks, beating well after each addition, then the vanilla and almond extracts.

4. Using clean beaters, beat the egg whites on high speed just until they form stiff, shiny peaks. Fold half of the whites into the butter mixture, then half of the almond-flour mixture; repeat with the remaining whites and almond-flour mixture to make a thick batter. Spread evenly in the pan and arrange the cherries in rows in the batter.

5. Bake until the golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over the top.

SERVE
Serve warm or cool completely.

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