"We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king." Brother Lawrence
I have always been rather taken with the ritual of a morning coffee and a little something sweet. It is an excuse to slow down and savor the moment, whether in a café or at home. I have my favorite spots for coffee and sweet both near and far. But I must confess my preferred morning sweet is a homemade cake with a pebbly textured streusel top, this is of particular interest to me. The pleasure is not only in the sugar-encrusted top but the contrast between the layer of fruit and spongy cake beneath. The tart scarlet cherries enclosed by the cake and crumb are a happy surprise. The addition of almonds in this cake both in the batter and in the streusel somewhat like a family reunion. Almonds as well as cherries share a common lineage with plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots. The interplay between them is a harmonious delight.
Other fruits that would marry well in this cake are plump blackberries or sweet red raspberries. The acidity working in contrast with the layers of cake and crumb make them worthwhile contenders. The added companionship of a little cream poured over the whole lot is an indulgence. Its thick, sweet, yellow presence not only brings a contented satisfaction, but might just have the power to mend a quarrel. -Shannon
Cherry Almond Poppy Seed Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup almond meal
2 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. poppy seeds
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup coconut oil (or canola oil)
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups cherries, pitted and sliced
For the streusel:
¼ cup flour
¼ cup oats
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan and butter the bottom and sides.
In a large bowl, combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, poppy seeds, salt and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, oil, almond extract, and buttermilk until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Gently add the cherries to the top of the batter.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, sliced almonds, poppy seeds and sugar. Add the butter and mix with your fingertips until clumps form. Sprinkle the streusel over the cherries.
Bake 55-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is a nice golden brown. Cool at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan. This can be served warm or at room temperature. For breakfast or for dessert. Plain or with a little cream poured over the top.