Friday, May 01, 2009

Spring Coffee Cake with Cherries

Spring is fully here. The birds are everywhere singing their sweet songs. Most of the spring bulbs have finished blooming and are being followed by the first flush of roses in pink, red, white, yellow and coral. The wild flower seed I sprinkled on bare earth in January actually germinated in a few places. I’m not actually sure of their names, but they are pretty with blue, yellow, white and pale lavender blossoms showing their cheery faces.

The veggies are being planted in the garden, the grass has been mown yet again, and all of the fruit trees have finished their bloom. The blackberries along the road are in bloom now and soon the grapes will break bud as well.

Although the cherry blossoms have come and gone, it’s still a bit early for fresh cherries. Fortunately good sour cherries can be found at the store put up in glass jars in a light syrup. When you drain them, reserve the syrup for other uses…like making a cherry sauce for ice cream.

This recipe is a variation of one that my mom gave me. It used a pre-mixed biscuit mix along with yeast. You get the ease of using a quick mix along with the wonderful down home fragrance and taste of yeast. Takes a little longer than a coffee cake made just with the biscuit mix, but the flavor and tenderness are worth it. It doesn't rise very much, but the crumb is light and tender.

This is my entry in Meeta’s Monthly Mingle. It’s a cake and used a spring fruit and is delicious. Do stop by Meeta’s blog in the next little while to wish her bon voyage for a few months. Better yet, join in the Mingle!

It's also this week's entry in the Yeastspotting event, Susan of Wild Yeast's excellent collection of recipes using yeast or yeasted ingredients.

Sour Cherry Coffee Cake

1 pkg (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
¾ cup warm water (105-115 degrees F.)
½ cup sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive oil (I used Meyer lemon flavored)
½ teaspoon almond extract
4 ¼ cups biscuit mix (like Bisquick)
24 oz jar sour cherries, drained
Streusel Topping (see below)

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and proof (let sit 10 minutes to make sure yeast is active).

Combine sugar, egg, olive oil, and almond extract. Beat until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Stir in dissolved yeast and 3 ¾ cups of the biscuit mix. Knead until smooth, kneading in the rest of the biscuit mix as you go, about 25 times of kneading. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Roll out and place in a buttered 10” X 13” rimed jelly roll pan, pulling an pressing the corners to form a rim of dough.

Arrange the drained cherries on the dough in a pleasing pattern.

Sprinkle with the streusel. Let rise in a warm place 35 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 40-50 minutes. Cut in squares to serve. Serve warm or cooled.

Streusel Topping
Mix ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup flour, ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup chopped almonds, ¼ teaspoon cardamom, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Cut in ½ cup cold butter with pastry blender or two knives until crumbly.

Note: I used canned sour cherries, but if you have fresh ones that would be even better. Just make sure to remove the pit, then cut them in halves and arrange on the dough, leaving some space between the cherry halves.


  1. Oh wow, this looks great. I plan to make something with cherries too for Meeta!

  2. Oh, Elle. Cherries already.
    Looks lovely.

  3. This sounds delicious. I love how its a yeasted cake - bet it tastes wonderful.

  4. I love sour cherries in anything, but in a yeasted cake, well, what could be more perfect?

  5. just perfect. i have a recipe on my blog using sour cream and cherries it's very similar to this. cherries are a great epitome for spring. thanks for coming over to the mingle with this cake!

  6. This does look wonderful. I'll bet that it was delicious as well.