SUMMERTIME and the living is easy!

Cherry cake is a traditional-as-they-come kind of English cake, and yes the cherries sometimes sink to the bottom of the cake!

Cherry cake is perfect for all occasions. The appeal is many-fold.

Cherry cake easy to make and needs very little decorating, with its lovely bright cherries being visually attractive and enhancing the cake with juicy moistness.

It is perfect to bake on a quiet summer’s afternoon in the kitchen alone.

There are myriad recipes out there for cherry cakes, but this one I always fall back on for special occasions.

I often get into discussion on how to keep the cherries from sinking.

I find that adding ground almonds to the recipe helps suspend them and prevents the cherries from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

Whole cherries will also sink, whereas those halved or quartered will ‘’float your boat’’ better, with the cherries distributing evenly if you wash them thoroughly and dry them of their moist syrupy juices first.

Coating the cherries in a little flour before stirring into the cake batter will also help, and I always scatter a few extra on top for good luck before it goes into the oven.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m baking a cherry cake, the suspense while the cake is baking almost kills me.

Obviously when I wrote this column, the cherries did not sink. Hooray for floating cherries!

But at the end of the day this is a home-made cake: take the cake as it is and treat the layer of cherries at the bottom as a huge treat. It’s not a contest for the Keighley Show!

Candid fruit is also known as crystallized or glazed fruit, and have been around since the 14th century with the cherries being drenched in syrup which becomes saturated in sugar, prolonging its life.

On a final note, did you know Maraschino cherries have been bobbing around the Manhattan cocktail bars since the early 70s?

Some cherries in the pantry have lost their fruit: what we have now are cherries cooked in red food colouring and other things from the chemical warehouse that could survive a nuclear disaster.

On the other hand, glazed cherries are processed without a arsenic of chemicals.

So little cherry, you did look so full of promise, then the French grabbed onto it with its ‘’cerise glacee’’ accent - on wonder a cherry cake always looks smug!

Cherry and almond cake recipe


Cuts into 8 good size portions


200g/7oz glace cherries, washed, halved and coated lightly in flour

175g/6oz self-raising flour, sift

175g/6oz butter, softened

175g/6oz caster sugar

3 large eggs, whisked lightly

75g/3oz ground almonds

1 teaspoon almond extract or essence

1 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

For the icing

150g icing sugar

1 tablespoon cold water


1. Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4.

2. Prepare the cherries by cutting them in half, then rinse under hot water to remove them of all the syrup. Pat dry with kitchen paper and coat with a little flour.

3. Beat the softened butter and sugar until light and creamy.

4. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time adding a little flour if the mixture curdles.

5. Carefully fold in the flour, cherries, ground almonds, almond extract and milk until evenly distributed.

6. Spread the mixture into an 8-inch deep round cake tin, or similar container lightly buttered and parchment line.

7. Top with extra half cherries and scatter over the flaked almonds.

8. Bake for around 60 minutes until firm to touch, and the cake has just begun to shrink away from the sides of the tin.

9. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring onto a cooling wire, to cool fully before peeling away the parchment paper.

10. To decorate, mix the icing sugar with a drop of water to make a very thick, pour-able icing.

11. Drizzle over the cake and allow to set before slicing up and enjoying your rewards with a nice cup of tea in the garden.