Cute Little Cherry Upside-Down Cakelets

How cute are these cherry upside-down cakelets?
How cute are these cherry upside-down cakelets?

Glossy little cherries have an undeniable appeal at this time of year.

They’re even harder to resist when spotlighted in sweet treats like these “Cherry Upside-Down Cakelets.”

This Food52 recipe is by VVVanessa. When I received my first cherries of the season last week in a bountiful Farm Box, I knew I wanted to do something special with them.

Farm Box is a new start-up by the digital design company, 409 + Co, which was founded by Andreas Winsberg, whose father owns the Bay Area’s Happy Quail Farms, famous for growing the first coveted pimientos de Padron peppers in California.

Cherries from G.L. Alfieri Farms via Farm Box.
Cherries from G.L. Alfieri Farms via Farm Box.

This specialty produce box can be picked up at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza farmers market on Saturdays or the Menlo Park farmers market on Sundays; or delivered to your door on Saturdays for a $20 fee. Learn more about Farm Box in my post earlier this week.

A peek inside last weekend's delivered Farm Box.
A peek inside last weekend’s delivered Farm Box.

These delightful cakelets are like muffins turned into individual upside-down cakes.

Muffin tin cups get generously buttered. Then, each cup gets a dollop of brown sugar, followed by a spoonful of chopped fresh cherries. The cake batter that goes overtop is fortified with ground almonds, vanilla extract, and almond extract, as well as more chopped fresh cherries.

The muffin tin cups get a coating of butter, brown sugar, and chopped cherries before the cake batter goes overtop.
The muffin tin cups get a coating of butter, brown sugar, and chopped cherries before the cake batter goes overtop.
Just out of the oven.
Just out of the oven.

As the cakelets bake, the cherries and brown sugar fuse to get all jammy, heightening their sweet taste. After baking, the cakes are inverted so that the fruit is the star on top.

These cute little cakes are moist, tender, and with a winsome texture from the ground nuts. In fact, the ground almonds coupled with the almond extract really amplify the cherry taste.

The cherry-topped little cakes.
The cherry-topped little cakes.

These are far more special than average muffins, but not much more work to make.

Glorious fruit deserve a fitting tribute. And these cakelets certainly do up fresh cherries in major style.

Ideal with a fluff of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Ideal with a fluff of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Upside-Down Cakelets

(Makes 12)

3/4 pound fresh cherries
3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature, divided use
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup (1.5 ounces) finely ground almonds

Wash, stem, and pit the cherries. Chop them roughly and set them aside.

Generously butter the wells of a 12-cup standard muffin tin (non-stick if you have it) with 1/4 cup of the butter. This is not the time to gingerly dab butter on the tin; really slather it on there! Coat the bottom really well, and be sure to get it up the sides, too.

Divide the brown sugar evenly into each well, using 1 packed teaspoon per well. Spread the sugar out to cover the well-buttered bottom.

Distribute a heaping tablespoon of cherries into each well, again spreading the fruit out to cover the sugar. Set the tin aside and reserve the excess cherries, which should end up being about 1/2 cup.

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Set it aside.

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup of butter and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mix in the extracts.

Mix the flour mixture into the wet mixture, combining thoroughly. Fold in the ground almonds and remaining cherries by hand. Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the muffin tin. Spread the batter to cover the fruit evenly (a small, offset spatula works really well for this).

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, rotating pan 10 minutes into cooking. Cakes are done when they are lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan or until they are cool enough to handle. They should still be a on the warm side so they’ll be easier to remove from the pan. Remove the cakes one at time using a thin knife or offset spatula to gently wedge them out. If any of the cherry mixture sticks to the pan, carefully scoop it out and spread it back onto the cake. But you used tons of butter to grease the pan, so that probably won’t happen.

Allow cakes to cool before serving.

From VVVanessa via Food52

Another Dish Inspired By My Farm Box Delivery: Stir-Fry Udon Noodles with Eggplant, Portobello Mushrooms, Thai Basil, and Celery Leaves

More Recipes For Fresh Cherries: Cherry Snow Cones

And: Brown Sugar-Oat Cherry Muffins

And: Deborah Olson’s Cherry Pie

And: Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Bing Cherries

And: Hugh Acheson’s Pickled Cherries

And: Cherry and Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

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  • These look so cute! Happy birthday to you! πŸ™‚

  • Tami: Thanks so much for the birthday wishes. And yes, this is going to be my mini birthday cake this year! πŸ˜‰

  • When people ask “What’s your favorite season?” I always answer “Cherry Season”! Really miss not being able to go choose my own pile of dark and flavorful Bings right about now. How do you pit yours, Carolyn? I see that you have quite a few other cherry recipes here, so I’m betting you have some sort of nifty device (or a fool-proof system) If you have already addressed this in one of your earlier cherry-based posts, I apologize for not having looked back through those (yet) Happy snacking!

  • Carroll: Some people use straws or bent paperclips to pit cherries. I bought an actual cherry pitter. It has come in very handy for recipes like this. Worth the investment if you love baking with cherries. πŸ˜‰

  • looks like more cherry than cake–i love it! i can hardly control myself when cherries go on sale, i want to buy them all!

  • I made these and they were very tasty. I do, however, have to disagree with Carolyn about the amount of work involved – took forever to pit those cherries! I guess I know which kitchen tool to get next!

  • Judith: If you bake with cherries regularly during the season, it’s definitely worth investing in a cherry pitter. It makes the work of getting those small pits out so much easier. πŸ˜‰

  • These little cakelets look so yummy! What do you think about making these with chopped figs and reduce the brown sugar? I like the idea of the jammy fruit with the cake on top, but our digs are so sweet IÒ€ℒd be concerned they might be overly sweet if the same amount of brown sugar. What do you think?
    I agree with you, a cherry pitter is a great kitchen tool and wise investment!

  • Laura: Very true about figs being candy-sweet and without the slight tang of cherries. I think you could probably use less brown sugar in the topping if you are using figs. Let us know how they come out. I bet these would indeed be delicious with figs.

  • Will do I may mix in a little lemon zest to temper the sweetness a little as well. Will keep you posted.

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