A Cake-for-Breakfast Kind of Day

Some mornings start like this: it’s been too long since laundry day so there are no clean clothes to wear. You pour a bowl of Cheerios and then open the fridge and realize you’re out of milk. And you’re late for work already.

This is the sort of thing that gets me pretty close to tears, but my apartment happens to be situated a block from one of the city’s best (and teeniest) coffee shops, and so within five minutes of the Cheerios incident I was saved from the brink, clutching a seriously strong Abraço cold-brewed iced coffee and a slice of tender olive oil loaf still warm from the oven, walking toward work through the farmer’s market in Union Square and telling New York City I will always be loyal.

When my editor at Serious Eats invited me to tag along with her to Cathy Erway’s potluck lunch/launch (call it a la-unch) for her new project, Lunch at Sixpoint, I accepted eagerly, and immediately decided to bring this cake, a spin on that amazing olive oil loaf, studded with the season’s first tart cherries (and a handful of sweet ones as well.) I baked two pans full, and I recommend you do the same. It’s so moist and delicate, lightly sweet and soft.

The garden at Sixpoint is brilliant: Cathy and the team have filled damaged kegs from the brewery (and a few empty bathtubs) with all manner of edible plants, from eggplant to tomatillos, kale and lettuces, green beans and strawberries, even corn, potatoes, and melons. There’s a chicken coop and a way to gather rainwater, and in the office, a big dining room table to gather around and share all that fresh-grown food.

Cathy made a frittata and super-fresh salad, and soon the tables was piled with good things: a massive brick of aged cheddar, little homemade chipotle bagels, cakes and pies, salads and jams. My olive oil cake was well received, and I’m happy to have a second one at home. A dollop of fresh whipped cream (no sugar needed) or ice cream isn’t a bad idea, or a spoonful of yogurt if you’re having a cake-in-the-morning kind of day. One bite and you’ll swear off those Cheerios.

Sour Cherry Olive Oil Cake
adapted from Abraço, in Bon Appetit, September 2009
makes two 8-inch cakes

2 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (I might try 1 1/4 if you like your desserts less sweet.)
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
3 large organic eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic whole milk
3/4 cups olive oil
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup pitted and chopped sour cherries
8 sweet cherries, pitted and halved
8 sour cherries, pitted and halved

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well distributed. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with milk, olive oil, and almond extract until uniform, then fold the egg mixture gradually into the dry ingredients until just blended. Add chopped sour cherries and divide between cake pans, then add cherry halves to each pan, poking them into the batter a little. Bake 45-50 minutes or until cake is lightly browned on top and a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert cake and serve or allow to cool completely before refrigerating.

In baking, cake, cherries, olive oil

Email This Post Email This Post | Bookmark or Share | | Print This Post Print This Post