Do you have a hidden talent? Mom and I have debated this quite a bit lately having watched America’s Got Talent and the hidden talent competition on the Today show. And it was decided that we do not have hidden talents.
But as suggested to me by Kim The Ninja Baker I do have a hidden talent. And my friends that talent is pitting cherries.
I pit cherries. Lots of them. Cherries for smoothies, cherries for pies and cakes and sauces on top of ice cream. Cherries in kale salads and paired with cottage cheese. Probably over a hundred, maybe two hundred, cups every summer.
I did have a stainless steel cherry pitter that I was using, but I used it so much that I broke it. That’s right, I snapped the metal cherry pitter right in half. So now I just do it by hand. Split open the cherry and pull the pit out.
This is easy to do with sour cherries in particular because they are soft, but once you get in the groove with any kind of cherry, it’s not so bad. I told you how I pitted nine cups of cherries for the popsicles last Sunday in twenty minutes. This is my summer routine.
And I never mind doing it. Not only because cherries are so delicious in so many different things, but because it is a relaxing, mindless activity that washes stress away and makes me feel better as I get in the rhythm. Just make sure you double check cherries if they are going into the blender. Better safe than sorry when it comes to wayward pits being blended into oblivion.
I pitted more cherries for this Black Forest Sheet Cake. After seeing all the black forest masterpieces on the Great British Baking Show, I was inspired. I took a classic chocolate cake and made it with carob of course, but cocoa powder will work just fine.
Then I topped it with a thick and jammy cherry compote and a rich chocolate/carob glaze. The end result is a rich, messy cake that is totally irresistible. The cake is deep and dark and packed with that classic chocolate flavor, intensified with coffee. The cherries are sweet, the perfect foil, and the drippy glaze rounds the whole thing out.
Do yourself a favor and pit some cherries and make this sheet cake. Your next summer get together will be even better with it for dessert.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup carob or cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)
1 cup brewed coffee, cooled
½ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups Bing cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (I used almond, use what you love)
1/3 cup carob or cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter
1 box confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and lightly flour it.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, carob or cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until a thin batter is formed. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 30 -35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
While the cake bakes, make the compote. In a small saucepan combine the cherries, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Continue to boil, still stirring frequently, for 3 or 4 minutes, until the mixture has thickened significantly. Set aside.
Make the glaze. In a medium bowl, stir together the milk and carob or cocoa powder. Add the butter and microwave for 1 minute. If the butter is not melted, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Add the vanilla and slowly stir in the sugar until a thick yet spreadable glaze is formed.
Spoon the cherry compote over the baked, but still hot cake. Spread it into an even layer. Spread the glaze evenly over the cake. Serve warm or cool completely in pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in pieces in parchment and foil and placed in zipper bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave for 1 minute.
Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction