Welcome back to A Common Kitchen everyone! I am so excited to finally be sharing a cherry recipe with you all. I first got the idea for a cherry recipe over a year ago. I had an idea to make a Twin Peaks themed Cherry Pie with the Agent Dale Cooper quote, “They got a Cherry Pie that’'ll kill you!” cut out of the top pie crust. And then I realized… I don’t like cherry pie. I don’t really like fruit pies in general. So, I squashed that idea (even though I thought it was awesome) and promised that I would revisit cherries again.
So here we are, over a year later, and I am finally sharing a cherry recipe with you all. And not to toot my own horn but this recipe is pretty amazing. This Cherry Coffee Cake is my favorite coffee cake and cherry recipe I have ever had. It is tender, moist, and perfectly sweet, tangy, and tart. The whole recipe comes together fairly quickly and requires a small-ish list of ingredients. There are three components to this cake that make it so delicious: the cake (duh), the streusel topping, and the cherry glaze. And trust me, everyone will LOVE this Cherry Coffee Cake.
The first and most important thing about making this cake is using room temperature ingredients. I cannot stress this enough. Whenever you are baking something, whether it be a cake, cookies, you name it, you should always always always use room temperature ingredients. So for this recipe you want your butter, eggs, and sour cream to be brought up to temp before you even think about making this cake! This is an important step because if your ingredients are cold, your mixer will have work a lot harder to fully incorporate the ingredients and the entire texture of the dessert will be ruined. I like to leave my butter, eggs, and sour cream out on the counter for about 1½-2 hours before I start making the cake. This time will vary depending on how cold or hot your kitchen is but I have found that that time range usually gives the ingredients enough time.
Another ingredient that really stands out in this recipe is the almond extract. I can’t really describe the flavor of almond extract because it is so unique. It pairs so perfectly with the tart cherries and if I had to chose vanilla or almond extract for this recipe I would choose almond. Every. Time.
I also opted to use frozen cherries as opposed to fresh cherries simply because I did not want to buy a cherry pitter and have to pit all of the cherries. Also, you can get frozen cherries year round and they are picked at peak season so this Cherry Coffee Cake can be made year round! However, if you have access to awesome fresh cherries and don’t mind pitting (de-pitting?) them yourself, by all means, do it! One other important thing in regards to the cherries is that you want to toss them with a few tablespoons of flour before adding them to the cake batter. The reason is that because if you add wet and slippery cherries into a wet batter they will all sink to the bottom. However, if you coat them in flour first, they will stay suspended in the batter, giving a perfect distribution of cherries throughout the cake. Trust me on this one… I had to make this recipe twice because I didn’t follow my own rules.
This recipe is so easy to put together and it might be one of my favorites! Jacob and I may have eaten an entire 8x8” Cherry Coffee Cake earlier this week… but it is truly that good! I also brought my first attempt at this recipe into work and everyone loved it! It lasted less than 5 minutes so if that doesn’t tell ya how good it is I don’t know what will! If you try out this recipe or any other from A Common Kitchen, please share your thoughts or pictures with me, I would love to hear from all of you! Happy baking everyone!
Cherry Coffee Cake
For the Crumble Topping
8 Tablespoons Butter, softened
¾ Cup Brown Sugar, packed
¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
For the Cake
1 Cup All Purpose Flour, plus more for preparing the pan and tossing the cherries
½ Tablespoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened, plus more for preparing the pan
1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
1 Large Egg
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ Teaspoon Almond Extract *see note
1 Cups Sour Cream, room temperature
1 Cup Frozen Red Cherries, thawed and drained, juice reserved *see note
For the Cherry Glaze
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Reserved Cherry Juice
1-2 Tablespoons Milk
Make the Crumble Topping
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add in the flour and mix on low until the mixture starts to form “chunks” and holds together when you squish it between two fingers.
Transfer the crumble to a bowl and set aside.
Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Use 1-2 tablespoons of room temperature butter to grease an 8x8” pan. Add 1-2 tablespoons of flour and ‘swish’ it around to cover each side of the pan and dump out any excess. Line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper that fits perfectly in the pan and has a 2 inch overhang (for easy removal later).
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another small bowl, add the cherries and add in 2-3 tablespoons of flour and toss the cherries until each one is covered in flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, a full 5 minutes.
Add in the egg, the vanilla, and almond extract and mix on medium-high speed until combined. Add in the sour cream and mix on medium-high speed again until combined— another 30 seconds.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add in the flour and mix on low-medium speed until combined— about 30 seconds—but do NOT over mix! Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again and mix by hand to ensure everything is evenly combined.
Add in the cherries and gently mix to combine them throughout the mixture. You don’t want the cherries to break down too much in the batter so just mix until they are evenly combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and use an offset spatula to smooth out the top into an flat even layer. Sprinkle the top with as much or as little of the crumble topping as you prefer (I do about ½” thick)
Bake the cake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The baking times on this cake can vary based on your oven and baking pan you use so just keep your eye on it.
Once baked through, remove from the oven and let cool until room temperature.
Make the Cherry Glaze
In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cherry juice, and 1 tablespoon of milk (to start) until completely smooth and no lumps of powdered sugar remain. Add more milk if the glaze is too thick.
Remove the cake from the pan and place on a serving plate (this is where those overhangs of parchment will come in handy!)
Drizzle with the Cherry Glaze, using as much or as little as you’d like.
Slice the cake into squares and enjoy!
Almond Extract— this extract is such a unique flavor and can be found near the vanilla extract.
Cherry Juice— I like to drain the cherries (so the batter doesn’t get “stained” by the juice) using a fine mesh sieve. I reserve the juice in a cup to use for the glaze.