Cherry-Almond Buckle

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How was your 4th of July weekend? Mine was pretttty goooood. We rendezvoused with a boatload of family/friends in Reno, then Tahoe, then Reno again. Casper got to meet all of my cousins, and play with a bunch of our friends babies, and hang with his uncles  and cousins and grandparents and aunt. There was sun, sand, a ton of rain, mountains, lake stuff, desert views, hot dogs, chorizo, a super good chai and breakfast calzone from Coffeebar in Reno, and fireworks on the lake. BOOM!

We are home now and I wanna talk about this cake because it has cherries and we like cake around here, right? This is actually a buckle and, from what I understand (thanks Internet), it’s a yellow cake with fruit mixed in or on top and the cake batter buckles around the fruit or the cake buckles in the center from the weight of the fruit. Basically, it’s a fruitcake of the non-scary holiday-time variety. It’s a fruitcake for summer and it’s wonderful. This buckle combines my current crush–cherries–with another favorite–almonds–plus a good dose of browned butter because, why not?

The flavors are reminiscent of this smoothie–but buttery and less healthful because, cake, obvs. The cake is sturdy yet tender, fragrant from the browned butter and almond extract (a totally winning combo, I think), with lots of juicy-just-sunken cherries, and a nice crisp texture on top from almonds and a sprinkling of sugar. The cake itself reminds me of this Rhubarb Crumb number, sans crumbs with a little easier execution and smaller pan size. It’s a casual cake perfect for casual summertime vibes.

 

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Cherry-Almond Buckle

Makes 1 8×8 inch square cake.

I made this recipe twice in one week, first cherries with sliced almonds and second with a combination of peaches and blueberries (bloobs!) with chopped almonds. Both buckles were delish, but I definitely preferred the texture of the sliced almonds on top over the chopped. Another note, this cake can be made in a regular mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula–no mixer or beaters necessary!

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, browned

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

2 large eggs

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups pitted cherries

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the solids in the butter become deep brown and has a nutty fragrance. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on opposite sides and secure (I use binder clips for this task). Spray the parchment with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix to browned butter and 3/4 cup sugar to combine. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Mix in the yogurt and extracts.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold this into the butter and sugar mixture until just combined and there are no longer any streaks of flour throughout the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and top with the pitted cherries, there will be a lot of cherries to batter, press down in spots as needed. Scatter the almonds over the top and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake (amke sure to test in a batter spot and not a cherry spot) comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing. Leftover cake keeps well wrapped in the refrigerator for a few days. Bring to room temperature before serving. [/recipe]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Cherry Agua Fresca

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One summer, after college, I worked at Whole Foods. It was a very short stint as part of the opening crew of a new store and one that I just, ultimately, wasn’t cut out for. I worked in the kitchen where it was hot from the cooking, humid from the dishwasher, and socially awkward from the insular group of cooks that had moved over from another store together. My report with the chef was good since it turned out I could crimp a billion pot pies neatly and quickly. It was the rest of the staff I couldn’t get in with.  It could have been my awkwardness and insecurity or their cliquey dude group, but it was probably both. Sometimes when I’d go into the walk-in to retrieve ingredients, I’d just bask in the refrigerated air for a minute while giving myself a pep-talk to get through the day. Then I’d wait till the last few hours to take my break so the light at the end of the tunnel didn’t seem so far off. I’d usually sit in my car with the AC blasting, chugging a watermelon agua fresca, while counting down the minutes until I could go home. So, basically I crimped pot pies, made salads, blended up agua fresca, and tried not to cry for a month before I peaced the f out and never looked back. The lesson? Life is too short for awkward work environments and the restorative power of agua fresca should not be underestimated.

Fast forward, like 8ish years, and I bought one of those agua frescas of my memories, reminiscing its thirst quenching abilities while I poured it over ice, only to be so disappointed by how cloyingly sweet it was. Sad trombone. But, there’s an upside to what has turned out to be an oddly depressing recounting of jobs-past. Agua fresca is damn easy to make. Like, why haven’t I been doing it for the better part of the last decade? It’s just fruit, water, and sugar. That’s it. Billy just posted this cute throwback number and he describes it like healthier kool-aid and I totally second that description. I opted to go for dark cherries here because I am obsessed with them every summer and always buy a ton and get super mad if I let them get wrinkly and sad before I use them.  Also, I have heart-eyeballs for that color. You should probably make this for the 4th of July festivities this weekend, or whatever other weekend happenings you may be enjoying–Netflix binging in your underpants, or whatever. I’m not here to judge. You could probably add some tequila/vodka/gin to this and make it a real party…you know, choose your own adventure.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Dark Cherry Agua Fresca

Makes about 1 liter.

There are a ton of agua fresca variations, but they all pretty much have about 4 cups of fruit (berries, stone fruits, melon) with about an equal amount of water and some sugar. You can pretty much make this with any fruit, just adjust the sugar to taste.

4 cups dark, sweet cherries, pitted

juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup sugar

3-4 cups cool water

Blend the cherries, lime juice, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a blender until the cherries are completely pureed. Stir in the remaining water (2-3 cups depending on how you would like the consistency, I like mine to be fairly thin and watery but still very cherry flavored). Serve in tall glasses over ice. Cheers! [/recipe]

 

Recently at Betty’s: Hummingbird Pancakes and 3-Ingredient Ice Cream Cake

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I’m going to be “that person” and say that I cannot even believe that it’s the week before the 4th of July. I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again because I’m just still caught in disbelief, but where the hell does the time go? Anyway, I made these Hummingbird Pancakes months ago for my gal Betty and they’re dreamy decadence is still trapped in my mind. Maybe I should make them again, ASAP? Probs. They’re inspired by the deliciously amazing Southern classic, Hummingbird Cake, but in a breakfast disguise complete with cream cheese drizzle.

Then, there’s this super-easy 3-Ingredient 4th of July Ice Cream “Cake” situation. Three layers of ice cream and sorbet all dressed up in patriotic stripes, with very little fuss while also being totally festive and perfectly frosty.

Pop on over to BettyCrocker.com for these recipes and more.

 

Disclosure: I was compensated for these recipes and photos featured on BettyCrocker.com