I Should Lay Off the Almond Extract: Cherry Coconut Almond Cake

Cherries, coconuts, and almonds are three of my favorite things, so making Yossy Arefi's "Cherry Coconut Almond Cake" was a no-brainer. The only problem was that the recipe didn't make it to the top of my to-bake list until long after cherry season was over. But the recipe says that you can use fresh or frozen cherries (tart or sweet), so I used frozen sweet cherries.

This is a one-bowl recipe that doesn't require a mixer. You whisk eggs and sugar until pale and foamy; add buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and coconut extract; and incorporate the dry ingredients (flour, almond flour, unsweetened shredded coconut, and baking powder. You spread the batter in a parchment-lined pan; scatter the cherries on top; and sprinkle on sugar (I used coarse sugar), sliced almonds, and more shredded unsweetened coconut before baking. I keep coconut extract on hand but use it sparingly since sometimes it can come across more like suntan lotion as opposed to actual coconuts. So instead of coconut extract, I added almond extract. I love almond extract and have a habit of adding it to anything with almonds, even when the recipe doesn't call for it.
The cherries sank into the cake during baking, so they weren't visible until I sliced the cake. The cake was tender and fluffy, but I think I accidentally turned it into an almond cake. Maybe just this one time I slightly regret adding almond extract, because the cake was so almond forward that it was hard to taste the coconut. Also, I don't think that frozen fruit was a good choice. The fruit was very soft, and I think the cake would have been better if I had used fresh, firm, Bing cherries. (Even though the headnote says that tart cherries and sweet cherries are equally good for this recipe, I think I would give the edge to sweet cherries just for their firmer texture.) 

This was a good cake. But if I can restrain myself from undisciplined almond extract usage and wait until cherries are back in season, I'm confident it will be better next time.
Recipe: "Cherry Coconut Almond Cake" from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi.


Louise said…
I'd like to try this recipe. Whole Foods has fresh sweet cherries right now. Maybe they'll still have them after I'm done baking cookies.
I think that sweetened coconut might be a good idea too, at least for sprinkling on top, to boost the coconut flavor.