This cardamom cherry cake makes the perfect summer dessert with tender crumbs from the olive oil and yogurt, pockets of jammy cherries, and a crunchy demerara topping.
With cherry season coming to an end, I want to share a recipe for this delicious cardamom cherry cake from Melissa Clark’s cookbook Dinner in French before those summer jewels disappear. With tender crumbs from the olive oil and yogurt spiced with cardamom, pockets of jammy cherries, and a crunchy demerara topping, this cake makes the perfect summer dessert.
- Cherries: I like to use fresh Bing cherries for this cake. Rainier will also work. If you can’t find sweet cherries, frozen is a great substitute. Don’t thaw them first. Fold the frozen cherries directly into the batter.
- Olive oil: when it comes to baking, choose a quality fruity olive oil. Arbequina olives are small and distinctly sweet, producing buttery, fruity, and smooth olive oil, most suited for sweet baking. Cakes made with olive oil tend to bake up with a moist and tender texture compared to ones made with butter.
- Yogurt: like other dairy products, adding Greek yogurt to cake batter makes the crumb moist and tender. Use only plain whole-milk, full-fat Greek yogurt for the best flavor. If you’re trying to cut calories, use 2% but avoid nonfat, as it contains fillers and stabilizers that change the taste and texture of what you’re baking. Sour cream, creme fraiche, and cream cheese are other alternatives that I use.
- Cardamom: is a popular spice used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Swedish cooking. There are two types of cardamom, black and green. I used green cardamom powder for this recipe. If you’re not familiar with cardamom, the flavor can be overpowering. A little bit of cardamom goes a long way. If you can’t find cardamom, use 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
How to Pit Cherries
The hardest part of this recipe is pitting all the cherries. I simply halved the cherries with a sharp paring knife and used my fingers to remove the seeds. You can also use a cherry pitter which makes removing them a lot easier. TheKitchn shares three nifty ways to pit cherries if you don’t own a pitter. Once the cherries are pitted, they go into a quick pickle juice for an hour.
How to Make this Cake
This cardamom cherry cake is one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever make! It only requires a bowl, a whisk, and a few steps to make. First whisk all the wet ingredients together. Then sift in all the dry ingredients. Fold in the pitted cherries. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with additional cherries and a sprinkle of demerara sugar. In less than an hour, you’re rewarded with an amazing cake for the minimal amount of work.
Tips for a Moist Cake
Everything that goes into making a cake affects its flavor and texture. Besides measuring the right ingredients and following instructions to the t, there are a few essential steps for getting a moist cake. Preheat your oven to ensure the proper temperature. Opening the oven door during baking creates great fluctuations in heat and causes your cake to collapse.
Over-mixing the batter will incorporate too much air resulting in the cake falling and becoming dense. Don’t overbake or the texture will be dry. Place the cake on the middle rack so the heat is distributed evenly between the top and bottom. Check for doneness 5-8 minutes before the required baking time because not all ovens act the same. The best method for testing a cake’s doneness is with a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. For this cardamom cherry cake, I check for doneness at 50 minutes then bake for at additional 5-10 minutes if the batter is wet.
What to Serve Cake With
This cardamom cherry cake is perfect still warm from the oven. Serve it with a warm cup of tea or coffee. Add a fancy touch with some whipped cream, creme fraiche, or yogurt spooned on top. For the best flavor, enjoy this cake the same day you bake it. It will keep for another day wrapped in foil at room temperature.
Take a bite of this cake and you’ll get moist and tender crumbs spiced with cardamom and pockets of sweet cherries. While I love the fancy layered cakes, my go to bakes are the effortless one bowl cakes that highlight the best of the season. This cardamom cherry cake is perfect for afternoon tea and just as great for dessert dressed up with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Cardamom Cherry Cake
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp cardamom
- 1 1/4 cups pitted cherries, Bing or Rainier
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Brush the bottom and sides with olive oil.
- Place sugar, olive oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
- Place a fine mesh sieve directly over the bowl, and sift in dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt).
- Whisk in dry ingredients until well combined.
- Fold in 1 cup of cherries.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Top with remaining cherries and demerara sugar.
- Bake for 55 minutes until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan.
- When ready to serve, lift the cake out of the pan, slice the cake and serve warm.