Tooting Cherry Cake



I have just moved to Tooting. Overhanging our tiny yard is a cherry tree, absolutely smothered with shining red berries. The first morning I woke up and stood admiring this tree from my bedroom window: eyeing up the ripest specimens and planning what I would do with my horde when the time was right. Until some bastard blackbird came and polished off nearly all of them. So instead, I got two big bowls reduced from the market and made them into this delightful cake: a cross between a Bakewell tart and a Victoria sponge, I suppose: the almonds make sure it keeps nice and moist for a good few days too.




300g cherries, stoned

50g caster sugar

225g butter

185g caster sugar

zest of 1 lemon

Few drops vanilla essence

4 large free-range eggs

150g self-raising flour

100g ground almonds

100g flaked almonds


  • Heat the oven to 170. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
  • Stew the cherries with the sugar until they are soft (about 15 minutes). Strain the berries, then reduce the juice to a syrup and reserve.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then fold in the flour and ground almonds. Finally stir though the lemon zest, vanilla and the cherries. Pour into the prepared tin and scatter the almonds pleasingly on top.
  • Bake in the oven for for 50-60 mins.
  • When the cake comes out of the oven, stab it gently with a skewer  it and pour the cherry syrup all over so it seeps into the holes.
  • Drizzle with extra icing (made of icing sugar and water) if you like, or scatter with some fresh rose petals.

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